Review: Eclipsed at Celebration Arts
Celebration Arts’ current production, Eclipsed, is a rare theatrical event—a play written by a woman and acted by an all-female cast. It’s also a rare, challenging drama about people in a far distant and different land than our own, but facing situations that are all too familiar.
Playwright and Hollywood star Danai Gurira sets her tale in a rebel army camp in Liberia in 2003 (the Second Liberian Civil War to oust President Charles Taylor from power). The women, who share a single, sparse room, are captive brides of “the C.O.,” a rebel general. They are known solely by their rank: Wife No. 1, No.2, etc. There are petty jealousies, schemes and arguments, but the women have achieved a tentative peace until Taylor flees to Nigeria in exile.
Now “free,” the women face challenges they had never imagined.
Director James Wheatley directs the play with an ear to the rhythm and accents of the protagonists. Though some of the younger actors are less experienced, Wheatley elicits impressive performances from everyone, in particular from Khaya Osborne as Wife No. 1, Tiffany Nwogu as Maima (Wife No. 2) and Monique Crawford as The Girl (aka Wife No. 4).