Set in 2003, ECLIPSED unearths the wreckage of Liberia's vicious civil war and celebrates women who navigate the most brutal of circumstances. The "wives" of a rebel commanding officer form a community in a hostile warzone. Their world is transformed by the arrival of two newcomers and the unceremonious return of a former "wife" turned rebel soldier and each woman finds her own means of survival.
Playwright Danai Gurira was born in the US to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe. She co-created and performed in the award-winning two-woman play IN THE CONTINUUM, which premiered Off-Broadway and toured the US (including Yale Rep, 2007) and Southern Africa. For her work on that production, Danai received the 2007 Helen Hayes Award (Best Actress), a 2006 OBIE Award, the 2006 Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award, and the 2004 Global Tolerance Award (Friends of the United Nations), and was honored by the Theatre Hall of Fame. Her recent acting credits include the film "The Visitor" and Lincoln Center Theater's production of JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE. She is the recipient of a 2008 TCG New Generations travel grant for ECLIPSED and has taught playwriting and acting in Liberia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. She is developing a play about the current situation in Zimbabwe with the Royal Court in London and completing another Zimbabwean piece entitled THE CONVERT. She received her MFA in acting from New York University.
ECLIPSED is directed by Liesl Tommy, who previously directed the McCarter Theatre workshop and world premiere of ECLIPSED at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. She has also directed the world premieres of A HISTORY OF LIGHT (Contemporary American Theatre Festival), ANGELA'S MIXTAPE (Synchronicity Performance Group, New Georges), THE GOOD NEGRO (Sundance Theatre Institute, Dallas Theater Center, The Public Theater), and A STONE'S THROW (Women's Project). Her other theatre credits include YANKEE TAVERN, STICK FLY (CATF); A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Trinity Rep); IN THE CONTINUUM (Playmakers Rep); FLIGHT (City Theatre); HYDRIOTAPHIA, CAMINO REAL (Trinity Rep/Brown Consortium); ISAAC AND ISHMAEL (Chautauqua Theatre Institute); SMALL TRAGEDY, MEDEA PROJECT (NYU/Strasberg Institute); SPLIT ENDS (La MAMA); BUS, FAMILY TIES (Cristian Panaite Play Company) for the Romania. KISS ME! Festival; MISTERIOSO 119 (Berkshire Theatre Festival, Act French Festival/Lark Theatre); ADVENTURES OF BARRIO GRRRL (Summer Play Festival); UNCLE VANYA, and OUR LADY OF 121st STREET (Juilliard). She was awarded the NEA/TCG Directors Grant and the New York Theatre Workshop Casting/Directing Fellowship, is a member of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. Liesl has taught directing at Trinity Rep/Brown University's MFA Directing Program and acting at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She is a native of Cape Town, South Africa.
Pascale Armand (Bessie) is delighted to return to Yale Rep, where she appeared in the 2005 world premiere of DANCE OF THE HOLY GHOSTS. Since then, she has appeared in August Wilson's GEM OF THE OCEAN (Arena Stage), DOUBT (Vermont Stage Company), GEE'S BEND (Kansas City Repertory Theatre), and the McCarter Theatre workshop of ECLIPSED. Her other theatre credits include AS YOU LIKE IT (Hangar Theatre); BLUES FOR AN ALABAMA SKY, HAMLET (Syracuse Stage); FOUR (Manhattan Theatre Club); BREATH BOOM (Playwrights Horizons); THE PIANO LESSON, JITNEY (Actors Theatre of Louisville), as well as productions at La Jolla Playhouse and American Repertory Theatre. TV and film appearances include "Law & Order: Criminal Intent", "Law & Order: Trial by Jury", "Strangers with Candy", and "Kinsey".
Zainab Jah (Maima) was born in London, Zainab spent her childhood in Sierra Leone, where she was a regular on children's television shows, and studied at the London School of Contemporary Dance and Leeds University, Yorkshire, UK. Her recent theatre credits include Azmera in TRANCED (Merrimack Repertory Theatre), Mayme in INTIMATE APPAREL (W.H.A.T.), Helen in TROJAN WOMEN (Classical Theatre of Harlem), IN DARFUR (The Public Theater), and Veronica Jonkers in the national tour of Athol Fugard's VALLEY SONG. Her film and television credits include "100 Center Street" directed by Sidney Lumet, "Dinner Rush" with Danny Aiello, and "Law & Order". She received the 2007 and 2009 Fresh Fruit Festival Best Actress Awards for Nick Mwaluko's "Waafrika" and "S/HE".
Adepero Oduye (Girl) hails from Brooklyn by way of Nigeria. Her theatre credits include THE BLUEST EYE (Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre) and Fela Kuti PROJECT directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones. Film and television credits include the award-winning short "Pariah" (2008 Sundance Film Festival), "On the Outs", "Half Nelson", "The Unusuals", "Law & Order", and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent". A one-time Manhattan Monologue Slam Champion, she is a graduate of Cornell University, and she studied acting with Wynn Handman, Austin Pendelton, and Susan Batson.
Stacey Sargeant (Helena) is thrilled to be making her Yale Rep debut in the role of Helena, which she performed in the McCarter Theatre workshop. Other theater credits include LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL (1st National Tour); PASSING STRANGE, TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (The Public Theater); THE EXONERATED (Off-Broadway); DAMN YANKEES, PURLIE (City Center Encores!); George C. Wolfe's HARLEM SONG (Harlem's Apollo Theater); LITTLE HAM (AUDELCO Award nomination); A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (McCarter Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse); KISS ME, KATE (Paper Mill Playhouse); THE COLOR PURPLE (Alliance Theater); and RENT (Weston Playhouse). Her television appearances include "Law & Order: SVU" and "Guiding Light". www.staceysargeant.com
Shona Tucker (Rita) recently finished three years as a company member at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, acting in such plays as FENCES, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, GEM OF THE OCEAN, and BUS STOP. Her Off-Broadway theatre credits include productions at New York Theatre Workshop, The Actors Center, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, The Public Theater, Circle in the Square, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, and La MaMa. She has worked at numerous regional theatres including Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Stageworks/Hudson, Arena Stage, The Acting Company, and American Conservatory Theater. Her film and television credits include the upcoming short, "North Country"; the short "Walk the Fish" featured in the film "Cosmopolitan"; "Preaching to the Choir: On the One"; "Third Watch"; "New York Undercover"; "Law & Order"; "One Life to Live"; and "Trinity". Ms. Tucker is the Acting Professor at Vassar College. A Schomburg Fellow and Fulbright Scholar, she earned a BS from Northwestern University and MFA in Acting at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
ECLIPSED features sets by Germán Cárdenas Alaminos, costumes by Elizabeth Barrett Groth, lighting by Marcus Doshi, sound by The Broken Chord Collective, dramaturgy by Walter Byongsok Chon, vocal and dialect coaching by Beth McGuire, and stage management by Karen Hashley.
German Cardenas Alaminos (Scenic Designer) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where his credits include last season's JELLY'S LAST JAM. He received a BA in architecture at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico City (2000). After working as an architect, Germán co-designed several productions, including DOUBT, MIXED EMOTIONS, THE ROBBERS, THE OVERCOAT, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, VENUS, EL METODO GRONHOLM, LA PIEL, MI JOVEN CORAZON IDIOTA, and LA NUEVA FAMILIA, and the musicals HOY NO ME PUEDO LEVANTAR, EMPERADORES DE LA ANTARTIDA, and THE PRODUCERS. He designed sets and lights for AM ZIEL by Thomas Bernhard. Germán is the recipient of the National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA) Foreign Studies Program Scholarship.
Elizabeth Barrett Groth (Costume Designer) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where her credits include costumes for JELLY'S LAST JAM and the set for AMERICAN CATNIP (Carlotta Festival of New Plays). Other credits include sets and costumes for THE FIVE FISTS OF SCIENCE, ONE FOR THE ROAD (Yale Cabaret); LATE: A COWBOY SONG, THE MYSTER OF IRMA VEP, and FLY-BY-NIGHT: A NEW MUSICAL (Yale Summer Cabaret). She has worked as a costume designer and assistant costume designer at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Boston University Opera Institute, American Repertory Theatre's Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, and Berkshire Theatre Festival. Her designs for the Silk Road Dance Company's American premiere of Egypta were nominated for a 2004 DC Metro Dance Award. She received a BA in fine arts and art history from George Washington University.
Marcus Doshi (Lighting Designer) previously designed lighting for the Yale Rep productions of THE IMAGINARY INVALID AND IPHIGENIA at Aulis. Recent productions in New York include A BOY AND HIS SOUL (Vineyard Theatre); THE BLUE RIDER IN PERFORMANCE (Guggenheim Works & Process); THINGS OF DRY HOURS (New York Theatre Workshop); OTHELLO (Lucille Lortel Award nomination), HAMLET (Drama Desk Award nomination) at Theatre for a New Audience; THE FIRST BREEZE OF SUMMER (Audelco Award, Signature Theatre Company); and "With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America," the permanent exhibition at the Museum of Chinese in America. His other credits include productions at Moving Theater (company member), Khmer Arts Ensemble, The New Group, Soho Rep, The Joyce, The Mint, Lincoln Center, Chicago Shakespeare, Seattle Rep, Portland Center Stage, Hartford Stage, Seattle Opera, Virginia Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Greenwich Music Festival, Florentine Opera; and internationally in Edinburgh, London, Amsterdam, Castres, Venice, Vienna, Mumbai, Delhi, and Phnom Penh, among others. Marcus is a graduate of Wabash College and Yale School of Drama. www.marcusdoshi.com.
Broken Chord Collective (Sound Designer) utilizes the talents of various composers, sound designers, and musicians to produce scores for many New York and regional theatres, including The Atlantic Theater, Cherry Lane Theater, Keen Company, La MaMa, The Rattlestick Theater, Women's Project, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Geva Theater Center, Long Wharf Theater, Weston Playhouse, and Westport Country Playhouse. Composers and designers include Daniel Baker, Aaron Meicht, Ryan Rumery, and Matthew Suttor. Regular musican collaborators include Mark Dancigers, Daniel Kluger, and Seth Meicht.
This season will further include the world premiere of POP! with book and lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman and music by Anna K. Jacobs, November 27-December 19, 2009; the world premiere of COMPULSION by Rinne Groff, February 5-27, 2010; THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS by Carlo Goldoni, March 12-April 3, 2010; and BATTLE OF BLACK AND DOGS by Bernard-Marie Koltès, April 16-May 8, 2010.
For more information, visit www.yalerep.org.
Photo credit: Carol Rosegg