Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

Curran Theatre
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's reviews of John, Into the Woods, and Beyond Therapy

Ayesha Jordan and Adeola Role
Photo by Little Fang
The Curran Theatre is presenting Eclipsed, the powerful play by Danai Gurira that shows the 2003 story of the kidnapping and sexual enslavement of young girls who are being held captive in a rebel compound during the Nigerian civil wars to satisfy the sexual needs of the (here, unseen) commanding officer. The central characters are merely called Wife #1, Wife #2, and Wife #3, which emphasizes how they were dehumanized. They live in a small tin-roof depicted on Clint Ramos' set.

One of the wives is pregnant, which makes her useless to their captor. At the start of the play, a 15-year-old who is referred to as The Girl has accidentally stumbled into camp to avoid the rebels and the three wives have been hiding her under a bathtub. When she leaves the hut she is spotted and she becomes Wife #4. Wife #2 manages also to take up arms for the rebels. The audience sees the routines of these women; when not submitting to the general's sexual hunger, they clean, chin-wag and squabble. The 15-year-old in the first three scenes scampers under the tin tub like a scared rabbit when anyone threatens to enter the hut.

I found the play enlightening, since I knew little about these tribal wars. I had read the headlines at the time, but I had little knowledge of what happened to women like this. Stacey Sargeant as Wife #1, Adeola Role as Wife #2, Joniece Abbot as Wife #3, and Ayesha Jordan as The Girl perform vibrantly. However, it is difficult to hear much of the dialogue, with the dialect used. Outstanding is Akosua Busia as peace worker Rita (she won an Obie for the role) and her voice is crystal clear. Direction is by Liesl Tommy.

Eclipsed runs only to March 19th, 2017, at the Curran Theatre, Geary Street, San Francisco. Tickets can be obtained online at Coming next is Simon McBurney's The Encounter, running from April 25 and through May 7th.

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