Lupita Nyong’o Eclipses Expectations

It’s two o’clock in the afternoon and the audience is taking their seats at the John Golden Theatre. The lights come up on a bullet-ridden, one room shack. Two women, clothed in mismatched and dirty garments, sit on the stage. One braids the hair of the other, and they are quickly identified as Wife No. 1 and Wife No. 3. The audience braces themselves for an expected act of violence, some shocking wartime brutality, but all that comes is banter. Wife No. 3 is fretting over her wig, and Wife No. 1 patiently attempts to quell the impending breakdown.  A burst of uncomfortable laughter rises from the crowd, and soon the entire audience is in stitches. Many are surprised by themselves; this is not a show you are supposed to laugh at. But, within these first five minutes, the play has taken a necessary and fearless stance. Victims of violence, refugees in horrible situations, are often deprived of their own humanity and reduced to one-dimensional figures of tragedy. With this opening scene, Eclipsed, written masterfully by Danai Gurira, has reminded the first world elite sitting in the audience that even the sister wives of a Liberian warlord can have a sense of humor.


The fearlessness of Eclipsed does not end with its subject matter. When it premiered on March 6, 2016 to rave reviews, Eclipsed became the first play to feature a cast of exclusively black women. Directed by Liesl Tommy and written by actress Danai Gurira, the play follows five women who get caught up in the Second Liberian Civil War. Saycon Sengbloh and Pascale Armand portray the aforementioned Wife No. 1 and Wife No. 3, respectively. The two are quickly joined onstage by Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong’o, who plays The Girl. While Wives No. 1 and No.3 have undoubtedly called the shack home for quite some time, The Girl is a newcomer. Played with a combination of raw fear and restless energy, The Girl enters the stage from under the grimy plastic tub which Wife No. 1 has been using as a chair. They are hiding her from the Commanding Officer. And when the C.O., who never actually appears on stage, comes calling, back under the tub she goes. The reason for her hiding becomes clear when he arrives and his wives lose every trace of their vibrant personalities. Backs straight and arms rigid by their sides, they stand motionless before he selects No. 3 to follow him off stage. When she returns moments later with a lopsided wig, it is obvious that he has raped her, and that it’s far from the first time.


The night goes on without incident, and Nyong’o’s Girl soon reveals herself to be quite precocious. She excitedly rattles off riddles and stories that leave the audience impressed. It’s time for another reminder; a war refugee can indeed be intelligent. Their plan to hide The Girl is foiled when she goes outside in the night to use the restroom. The C.O. discovers and rapes her, and proceeds to make her Wife No. 4. As she assimilates to life in the compound, her personality becomes more clear. As Wife No. 3 notes, she seems unaffected by her assault. More willing to bury her emotions, she instead becomes enthralled in a book she finds about Bill Clinton. The only one of the wives who can read, she gets the others hooked, and they eagerly look forward to nightly readings. In a simultaneously childlike and gossipy manner, hey muse about whether or not Hillary Clinton would take in Monica Lewinsky as Wife No. 2. But, as Nyong’o displays with subtle perfection, Wife No. 4 is unravelling.


The absence of Wife No. 2 is soon explained when she makes an unexpected return. Clad in glamorous, early-2000’s styles, with an AK-47 slung casually over her shoulder, she has escaped sexual slavehood by joining the C.O.’s army.  In one of the most powerful scenes, she explains, “When you have this [the gun], nobody messes with you.” The message clearly resonates with Wife No. 4, because, when the curtain opens for Act 2, she herself is brandishing a weapon.


The play culminates in an intense final scene where Rita, the fifth woman and a peace activist working to end the war, attempts to get the women to flee with her from the compound. “What are your names?” she begs. She knows that they’ve been long forgotten, and she wants the women to realize that if the C.O. has stolen such a vital part of their identity from them, there is no way to defend or stay with him. In a show stopping monologue, she recounts the horrible atrocities of her life. First, of her rapes, but then of her actions as a soldier. She shamefully confesses that she allowed other girls to go through what she went through, encouraged it in fact, just to escape such treatment herself. She endured a great deal, but it is what she dealt out that will haunt her forever.


Grade: A

— Charlie Hobbs, Staff Writer

Posted by on April 25, 2016. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

40 Responses to Lupita Nyong’o Eclipses Expectations

  1. Pingback: microsoft exchange online plan

  2. Pingback: pkv games

  3. Pingback: buy hydroxychloroquine online india

  4. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine cost

  5. Pingback: use of hydroxychloroquine in humans

  6. Pingback: studies on hydroxychloroquine

  7. Pingback: benefits of ivermectil size

  8. Pingback: tadalafil 20mg dapoxetine 60mg

  9. Pingback: 5343 pill vs viagra

  10. Pingback: stromectol 5oomg

  11. Pingback: american made generic priligy

  12. Pingback: sildenafil 100mg instructions

  13. Pingback: humans antimalaria for syphilis

  14. Pingback: generic cialis 5mg

  15. Pingback: generic aurogra vs sildenafil

  16. Pingback: prednisone 800 mg

  17. Pingback: price of ivermectin in the philippines

  18. Pingback: stromectol antiparasitic

  19. Pingback: ivermectin uses

  20. Pingback: ivermectin company stock

  21. Pingback: calf wormer ivermectin

  22. Pingback: stromectol dosing for scabies

  23. Pingback: generic vs brand name for cialis

  24. Pingback: what pharmaceutical company makes ivermectin

  25. Pingback: ivermectin prices human

  26. Pingback: stromectol side effects

  27. Pingback: cialis side effects vision

  28. Pingback: clomiphene rx

  29. Pingback: ivermectin mexico pharmacy

  30. Pingback: stromectol 6mg

  31. Pingback: ivermectin stromectol

  32. Pingback: sildenafil 30 mg

  33. Pingback: viagra otc

  34. Pingback: best pills for flying

  35. Pingback: generic cialis without prescription

  36. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine sale canada

  37. Pingback: stromectol online sale

  38. Pingback: generic otc viagra

  39. Pingback: generic tadalafil cost 20mg

  40. Pingback: viagra in mexico over the counter

You must be logged in to post a comment Login