By Novell Zwange – Eclipsed, a play by the US-based Zimbabwean actress and playwright, premieres today at the Windybrow Theatre in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa. The world-acclaimed play is part of an exciting programme of theatrical productions and music for Women’s Month in August. The programme has a Pan-African flavour and will host artists and shows from the African continent alongside South African productions.
This captivating drama written by Danai is directed by Warona Seane and it features Nqobile Sipamla, Ferry Jele, Lerato Sekele, Keketso Mojela and Khutjo Mmola.
Eclipsed is a story about the Liberian civil war that arose in defiance of Charles Taylor’s rule. The play examines in particular the war’s impact on the female population in the region.
The story is told through dark humour with a matter of fact acceptance of the situation that five women find themselves in.
Although they accept the general war situation, the five women remain true to themselves and make the best of the challenges that they face.
The captive wives of a Liberian rebel officer form a hardscrabble sisterhood, their lives set on a nightmarish detour by civil war. With the arrival of a new girl who can read and the return of an old one who can kill, their possibilities are quickly transformed. Drawing on reserves of wit and compassion, these defiant survivors ask: when the fog of battle lifts, could a different destiny emerge?
Eclipsed will run until August 15 on Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm and also at 3pm on Sundays.
Below are press excerpts on Danai’s awardwinning play.
“The wonder of Danai Gurira’s new play is that Eclipsed is neither depressingly bleak nor oppressively sober. It’s A SURPRISINGLY VIVACIOUS PORTRAIT of helplessness, of the entirely human impulse to adapt…conveyed with a lovely authority, at times even a whimsicality. [In this] authentic-feeling production, her tight-knit kinship with these characters comes across as if she shared the stage with them.” – The Washington Post
“A REMARKABLE CAST. A GUT-WRENCHING SAGA TOLD WITH POIGNANCY AND WIT, precisely the kind of niche today’s cutting-edge theater strives to fill. Opens [Woolly’s] 30th anniversary season with the intended jolt to the senses thanks to blunt yet sensitive staging by Liesl Tommy.” –
“Woolly Mammoth’s production…is about AS GOOD AS IT GETS. THE ACTING IS ASTONISHING” – Washington Times
“Stirring and sobering, and funnier than you’d expect, Eclipsed [is] a deeply felt portrait of women in extremis, finding and testing their own strength.” – City Paper
“THIS KNOCKOUT PRODUCTION IS NOT TO BE MISSED. The design team’s heartfelt collaboration is clear from all angles.” – DC Theatre Scene
“A haunting story about five women…BROUGHT BEAUTIFULLY AND GRAPHICALLY
INTO BEING BY A CAST OF FIVE TREMENDOUS ACTORS.” – Metro Weekly
“I remain fascinated by this production after a few days. I URGE YOU TO GO…BRING FRIENDS, TALK ABOUT IT, THINK ABOUT IT.” – WeLoveDC.com
The World Premiere production of Eclipsed has been honored with a 2009 Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.