Lupita Nyong'o, who received a 2016 Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her work in Danai Gurira's Eclipsed, penned an essay for Lena Dunham's Lenny newsletter following a journalist's question.
Nyong'o, who won an Oscar for her performance in 12 Years a Slave, was asked by a reporter, "Why would such a big star choose to do such a small play?"
The acclaimed actress writes in her essay, which is entitled "Why I Chose a 'Small Play' Over the Big Screen," "This question felt quite silly. I mean, I'm an actress; why wouldn't I want to be in an incredible, gorgeous, meaty piece about the complicated choices of women during wartime? But then it went deeper than that. To me it felt like a question about our value system in this culture, the ways we define success for ourselves as well as others...As an actress, feeling connected to a fully realized, complex character is what I look for first. The size of the role, and the budget, and the perceived 'buzz' around the project are much less important to me. As an African woman, I am wary of the trap of telling a single story. I decided early on that if I don't feel connected to, excited by, and challenged by the character, the part probably isn't for me."
Eclipsed was nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best Play.