Lupita Nyong'o to star in Gurira's play

HARARE - Award-winning Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o will star in Danai Gurira’s theatre play titled Eclipsed scheduled to start showing in New York at the end of next month.

Gurira’s play, to run from September 29 to November 8, will be directed by Liesl Tommy, a theatre director originally from Cape Town, South Africa.

Like Tommy, both Gurira and Nyong’o have African roots. Nyong’o was born in Mexico, but was raised in Kenya while Gurira was born in Iowa, where her father was a college professor, but later relocated to Zimbabwe with her family when she was five. The Walking Dead actor grew up in Zimbabwe but later returned to America to study in Minnesota.

Eclipsed is set in Liberia near the end of that country’s long civil war. Three women, who have been abducted and made “wives” of a rebel commander, live together in a shack. Each woman finds a different way of coping with the horror of her situation.

According to The New York Times, Gurira expects audience members to identify with the various characters in the play.

“I think there’s definitely a fighter in me. I actually love the character Maima. She’s insanely flawed, but I challenge people to judge her, if you really look at what she’s been through. I think I would have picked up a gun.

“In very many ways, my focus as an artist is about getting African women’s voices out there,” she said.

“If that ends up having a label attached, I don’t mind, but that’s not how I approach my work,” she said.

Nyong’o took to Instagram to announce the news of her starring in Eclipsed.

“lupitanyongoExciting news: I am getting back to the stage! This fall, catch me at The Public Theatre for my New York debut in Danai Gurira’s play, Eclipsed, directed by Liesl Tommy. September 29th to November 8th.”

Nyong’o has won many awards including an Oscar for her role as Patsey in the movie 12 Years A Slave. Her other high profile roles include Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, In My Genes and The Jungle Book.

Eclipsed is another feather in the cap for Gurira who is best known for her role in The Walking Dead as the zombie-killing, Michonne. She has also featured in productions that include The Visitor, Ghost Town, 3 Backyards, My Soul to Take, Restless City, Mother of George and many others.

The celebrated Hollywood actress co-founded Almasi, a Zimbabwean-American dramatic arts organisation that is organising a mentee director series in Zimbabwe.

The project began in November last year under the guidance of American theatre director and drama teacher Julia Wharton.

Gurira’s first play, In the Continuum, produced at Yale Rep in 2007, consists of a pair of monologues, which she and Nikkole Salter started developing as New York University graduate students.

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