Eclipsed, Tale of a Sisterhood in African Civil War, Begins World Premiere Run in DC | Playbill

News Eclipsed, Tale of a Sisterhood in African Civil War, Begins World Premiere Run in DC
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company opens its 30th season Aug. 31 with the world premiere of Eclipsed, Danai Gurira's play about women caught in the crossfire of war in Liberia.

The playwright is the award-winning co-creator and performer of the Off-Broadway and internationally acclaimed hit In the Continuum. Directed by Liesl Tommy, the Eclipsed cast features Woolly Mammoth Company members Jessica Frances Dukes and Dawn Ursula, with Uzo Aduba, Ayesha Ngaujah and Liz Femi Wilson.

Eclipsed runs to Sept. 28 in Washington, DC. Opening is Sept. 6.

According to production notes, "The captive wives (Uzo Aduba, Liz Femi Wilson) of a Liberian rebel officer form a hardscrabble sisterhood, their lives set on a nightmarish detour by civil war. With the arrival of a new girl who can read (Ayesha Ngaujah), the return of a wife who has become a soldier (Jessica Frances Dukes), and the appearance of an aide worker (Dawn Ursula) — their possibilities are quickly transformed. Drawing on reserves of wit and compassion, these defiant survivors ask: when the fog of battle lifts, could a different destiny emerge?"

Artistic director Howard Shalwitz stated, "Woolly is proud to launch this sharp-edged, surprisingly humorous and emotionally powerful new play — which makes a universal statement about the impact of war and the resilience of individuals who forge a vision of the future in the face of the cruelest circumstances. Eclipsed will launch Woolly's 30th season of plays about big topics and pressing conversations about the world we live in."

Gurira co-created (with Nikkole Salter) and performed in the award-winning two-woman play In the Continuum, which premiered off-Broadway and toured the U.S. and Southern Africa. For her work on that production, Danai won a 2006 Obie Award, the 2006 Outer Critics John Gassner Award, and the 2004 Global Tolerance Award (Friends of the United Nations), in addition to being honored by the Theatre Hall of Fame. In 2007 she received a Helen Hayes Award for Best Lead Actress in In the Continuum at Woolly Mammoth. She was most recently seen on Broadway in Lincoln Center Theater's production of Joe Turner's Come and Gone. She is the recipient of '08 TCG New Generations travel grant for Eclipsed and has taught playwriting and acting in Uberia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. She received her MFA in acting from NYU. Danai was born in the U.S. to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe. The production and design team for Eclipsed includes Daniel Ettinger (set design), Kathleen Geldard (costume design), Colin K. Bills (lighting design), Veronika Vorel (sound design), Jennifer Sheetz (properties), Tonya Beckman Ross (dialect coach) and John Gurski (fight choreographer).

Woolly Mammoth is located at 641 D Street, NW (7th & D) in Washington, DC. For more information, visit

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