Reed’s “Ruby” rises on Baylor Theatre

By Rachel Ambelang
Staff Writer

The Baylor Theatre will continue the 2011-2012 season with “The Ruby Sunrise,” which will be playing 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15-19 and 2:00 p.m. Nov. 19-20 in the Hooper Schaefer Fine Arts Center’s Mabee Theatre.

Originally written by Rinne Groff in 2005, “Ruby” is inspired by the true story of Phillo T. Farnsworth, one of the first creators of a proto-television. Groff’s play is set in 1927, and Ruby is a young woman who was raised without money and or formal education.

Despite this less than ideal upbringing, she finds a way to create a photocathode tube, a device that distributes light into images.

Aledo senior Kelly Nickell plays the part of Ruby.

“Ruby is passionate, persistent and ambitious to a fault. It is always enjoyable to play a character that knows what she wants and although she must face obstacles, she desperately wants her dreams to come alive,” Nickell said.

Waco graduate student, David Reed directed “Ruby” and said this play is something modern audiences will thoroughly enjoy.

“The characters in the play are written in a matter that there is something eminently relatable about each of them,” Reed said.

Reed said that with such an array of characters, everyone in the audience will find someone that they can connect with.

Another reason this play really resonates with its audience is the subject matter. Although it is set in the 1920s, the play’s focus on instant communication in relationship to the modern age will still feel relevant to audiences.

Reed said viewers will relate to Ruby’s story.

“A lot of times you go to a play and the story doesn’t really connect, but this playwright has really jumped on some things that are relevant to our world today,” Reed said.

Reed is particularly excited for audiences to see the technology that has been worked both into both the set design and the narrative of the play.

“The way that we’re using different forms of technology is really unprecedented in Baylor’s stage,” Reed said. “We’re speaking to the world at large that [technology] is so a part of their daily lives.”

He said it is almost necessary to start incorporating some of this technology into the theater in order to reach a more modern audience, and thinks that people will be excited to see what he and his team have done to create the world of “Ruby Sunrise.”

“Ruby” is a story about dream, and what people will do to accomplish them. The character Ruby in particular is fighting for the chance to make her dream reality.

However, Nickell knows there is more to Ruby than her ambition.

“On the surface it appears that Ruby’s only goal is to create the first television. While this is a driving force for the character, Ruby really wants to be included,” Nickell said.

Ruby’s desire to be noticed brings up another main theme in the play, which deals with what people pass on after they die. This was a theme that particularly struck Nickell.

“The entire play is about how we pass down stories and the manner in which we use them to carry on our own lives after we’re gone,” Nickell said.

Reed said “Ruby Sunrise” makes the audience ask itself how we are changing history and why we want to change it all.

Tickets are on sale now for “The Ruby Sunrise” for $15 or $12 for Baylor students and faculty. Visit at for tickets or call 254-710-1865.