Lynn Nottage: After I did the initial set of interviews with women in East Africa, I recognized that my journey was not complete, and I ended up applying for a Guggenheim grant to go back and spend more time in East Africa with women fleeing gender-specific human rights abuses.  And then after that I went back a third time. And the third time I went very specifically to figure out, “How do you use theater and art as a tool for healing?”  Because I thought, “It’s not enough for me to tell these women’s stories, but I want to figure out how do we process the stories in a way that moves through our bodies and leads to some sort of catharsis and healing.”  It was really important when I was writing Ruined that the audience take a journey, not just through the darkness, but come out at the end with a sense of optimism, and recognize the resilience in these women. I know that I took a lot of criticism when the play was originally produced that I had a happy ending.  But one of the things that I remember when I was interviewing the women is how easily they could move from despair to accessing their smiles, and I thought the smiles are the things that permit them to transcend these circumstances, and I wanted the audiences to understand that as dark as the place these women were, they were able to find their resilience.