The story of Ruth gets different approaches as All For One Productions opens “Ruth2” tonight.
The production includes two plays: “The Redemption of Ruth” by Lauren E. Nichols and “My Name is Ruth” by Stephen W. Baldwin.
“Redemption” is the traditional Biblical story performed in a dramatic reading format. But “Name” is a more traditional play and takes a different approach to the story, telling it as a comedy about a war widow coming to the United States after the end of WWII.
“It still talks about the outsider and how you make the outsider feel welcome and how you do right by all parties and justice being more than the letter of the law,” says Nichols, All For One's artistic director.
She wrote “Redemption” in 1993 when All For One was a touring company. It doesn't require much in the way of a set, so it was easy to take on the road. She came across “My Name is Ruth” later when All For One worked with 34 West, a theater company then operating out of Ohio. She wanted to find a way to present them together.
This is the second time All For One has staged “Ruth2,” but the first time since 1993 that “Redemption” has a different cast and is being done from memory instead of as a full reading.
Nichols thinks it's an interesting experience to see the story told different ways. But no matter the adaptation, Nichols says she is drawn to the story of Ruth as a picture of strangers being incorporated into family.
“I think it's a message for all time,” she says.
Nichols directs “Redemption” while “Name” is directed by Megan Arnold. Each play has a different cast of three people. Ruth Mussmann plays Ruth in “Redemption” and Anna Macke is Ruth in “Name.” The production runs through March 1.
If you go
When: 7:30 p.m. today, Saturday and Feb. 28 and 29; 2:30 p.m. Sunday and March 1
Where: ArtsLab, 300 E. Main St.
Admission: $17 adults, $14 for ages 60 and older, $11 students; Arts United Box Office, 422-4226 or tickets.artstix.org