An elegant, intelligent performer who works as well with classical texts as with street-savvy modern works, Cara Ricketts knows how to pour emotion and sensuality into roles as varied as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and an updated version of Antigone.
But she positively shines in the works of Joseph Jomo Pierre, whose poetic, visceral plays capture the lives of young urban blacks and their attempts to escape – or sometimes embrace – a world of drugs and guns.
No surprise she was one of NOW’s top performers of 2006.Ricketts returns in an Obsidian remount of Pierre’s Born Ready, paired with David S. Craig’s Smokescreen, produced by Roseneath Theatre; Theatre Passe Muraille co-presents the double bill.
Both shows tackle the issue of at-risk teens. Born Ready focuses on black-on-black violence, while Smokescreen looks at drug use.
Though Ricketts isn’t in the current Smokescreen production, she previously played empathetic social worker Rayzee, who tries to make peace between Trent, a teen who thinks adults have demonized an innocent activity, and his father.
“What I like about the show is that it looks not just at addiction but at allowed and forbidden drugs in our society.”
She points out a parallel between the two plays: Trent finds success and peer acceptance by being a dealer; similarly, the two men in Born Ready see drugs and guns as a means of status.
Ricketts plays Peggy Sue, caught between Blackman and B-Side.
“She’s a gritty figure, a woman who’s accepted a lifestyle where men use her. She learns that she doesn’t have to define herself through the men around her.”