The Broadway drama Eclipsed, which is set during the Liberian Civil War of the 1990s-2000s, is using its high profile to focus public attention on a still-ongoing tragedy in the nearby country of Nigeria.
Each performance of Danai Gurira's is being dedicated to a different one of the more than 200 schoolgirls and young women who were abducted from the Chibok School in northern Nigeria in April 2014 by the insurgent terrorist organization Boko Haram and are still being held.
Each future performance of Eclipsed will be dedicated ”to the abducted and still missing girls in Africa, here in the U.S. and all around the world. During the curtain call, a live announcement will be made dedicating by name each performance to a specific missing girl, an effort to shine a continuous light on the victims of war, violence, and abuse.”
Eclipsed dramatizes how such enslavement of women during the 12-year war affected their humanity. Gurira's play stars Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o.
Gurira told the AP, “The goal and the hope is that it brings awareness that causes people to want to get more involved and see how they can help. I've seen this country do amazing things with a collective consciousness, like around issues of apartheid back in the '80s. There's a way we, as a people, can effect change if we put our minds to it.”
The idea for the campaign was born on April 15 when Eclipsed hosted two of the kidnapped girls who managed to escape:
At that evening’s curtain call, Eclipsed actress Akosua Busia spoke on behalf of the company and recognized the two young women directly impacted by the incident, and observed a moment of silence. Also recognized that night was Emmanuel Ogebe, human rights activist and international director of Education Must Continue Initiative (EMCInitiative.org), an organization that rehabilitates children victimized by terrorism by providing them safe haven, medical treatment, counseling and a return to their education.
The show has a history of activism. It's also part of the TenThousandGirls movement trying to raise money to bring 10,000 girls to Broadway, “girls from the tri-state area between the ages of 16 to 24, who will most likely never get to experience a Broadway show.”