Our metro area ranks among the best nationally in opportunities to see live theater. Much of that theater is quite good. But, now and then, a play is staged which simply cannot be missed. For the year 2010, that play is Eclipsed, to be staged from September 17 to October 10, at the Playwrights’ Center on Minneapolis’ Franklin Avenue by Frank Theatre; the production is directed by Wendy Knox, and features a spectacular local cast.
Written by Danai Gurira, a young Zimbabwean-American of great heart and intellect, Eclipsed is the story of five Liberian women trapped in that country’s prolonged civil wars. Four of them are the unwilling “wives” of a guerrilla “commanding officer,” who use threads of solidarity and competition to weave themselves into a fragile community. The fifth is a “peace woman,” an educated, urban dweller who, like the others, has lost all her material possessions and, like the others, is unsure of her future. Their dreams, visions, and even identities have been “eclipsed” by the violence which surrounds them, but not erased. We sit on the edge of our seats, waiting to see what will emerge, what these young women can make emerge, as they explore their relationships with each other and the situation around them changes shape.