Get ready to invest in some off-Broadway tickets this fall. According to Broadway.com, The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira has cast Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o in her play Eclipsed . Set during the second Liberian Civil War, Nyong'o will play The Girl, a woman who upsets the balance when she is introduced among the captive wives of a rebel officer. The sure-to-be powerful play will offer a feminist reading of wartime Liberia, a period that is generally not seen through the eyes of women.
Gurira may be best known as the katana-toting apocalyptic survivor Michonne, but she has been writing plays longer than she has been killing zombies. In a Tavis Smiley Show interview on PBS, Gurira said she writes plays as a way to play up her strengths and to speak to women she knows and whose stories she feels are important to tell. She is always exploring new ground, and Eclipsed will be no different. By dropping theatergoers into an unfamiliar and dangerous world, Gurira is pushing them out of their comfort zone. The same thing will be happening to the women on stage as they try to understand The Girl, and why she is among them.
Taking on the second Liberian Civil War from a female perspective is a hugely important thing to do. The war is part of the very recent past, having taken place in 1999: Many women were moved to action not by taking up arms, but by speaking out for peace through silent protests and meetings. Together Christian and Muslim women worked side by side to form Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace. Gurira is adding another layer to the story of the women of Liberia by telling individual experiences and putting faces on a war that so many know so little about.
As The Girl, Nyong'o will surely bring her trademark strength to this challenging material. In Eclipsed, the characters will all have to find a way to stay strong during a war that they did not make or ask to be part of.
According to Variety, Eclipsed originally debuted in D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theater and New Haven’s Yale Repertory Theater in 2009. This will mark the play's New York City debut, and the first time Nyong'o will take on the lead role in an off-Broadway production. The play will run at Public's LuEsther Theater beginning October 14, and ending November 8.