The Yale Repertory Theatre will present Danai Gurira's ECLIPSED beginning October 24th, with an opening night of October 29th. The cast will feature Pascale Armand, Zainab Jah, Adepero Oduye, Stacey Sargeant, and Shona Tucker.
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