Eclipsed is set in Liberia in 2003 in a camp for rebels who are members of Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). Written by Zimbabwean playwright Danai Gurira and directed by Zane E Lucas, assisted by Patience Tawengwa, the play was warmly received at Hifa where it was described as one of the best theatrical presentations staged this year.
The play is staged by The Repertory Players and runs until May 19, with performances most nights at 7pm and matinee performances at 2.30pm on both Saturdays of the run. It is rated 18.
“By 2003 Liberia had been undergoing civil war for more than five years,” said Lucas. “LURD was at war with the army of tyrannical leader Charles Taylor, a war that engulfed the people of Liberia. Young boys were taught how to fire AK47s and fed cocaine to make them war-worthy. The old and helpless were killed, or horribly maimed. Both factions were responsible for these atrocities, including kidnapping young girls and women and raping them; some became wives of the commanding officers, or just playthings for the other soldiers.”
The play is set in this fiery situation and examines an unhappy scenario involving five women in the LURD camp.
“In August 2003, Taylor fled Liberia and went into exile in Nigeria,” said Lucas. “He was recently indicted for war crimes in Sierra Leone and Liberia continues to mend itself under the leadership of Africa’s first — and until recently only — female President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It is a story that remains topical and valuable.”
The cast includes Chipo Chikara, Yandani Mlilo, Precious Mudzingwa, Rutendo Chigudu and Sandra Goliath.
Meranwhile theatrical production 24583 Creepy Little Wonders that was presented by the Scarlattine Theatre at Hifa’s ZB Bank Reps Theatre on May 5 and 6 was truly a wonderful experience.
Judging by the audience’s response, the presentation impressed the full house of theatre enthusiasts some of whom may have gone to watch it out of mere curiosity. The mixed audience got more than it had bargained for as it was pleasantly surprised with the cast’s ability to effectively communicate and amuse using different artistic devices.
The players delivered their lines mostly in Italian but managed to convey the play’s storyline and entertain using limited English, dramatic gestures, exaggerated facial expressions, music, dance, simple props and projecting images onto a screen. The cast of only three actors also played the production’s various characters well; changing with the settings and scenes from parents, to children and teachers.
Combining first class acting with outlandish costumes and clever makeup, the cast managed to tell the story of Pasquale, a child with a strange smile who is made fun of by others at school. Growing up, Pasquale manages to overcome his fears to turn the tables on a world that had shown him much cruelty.
While there was plenty of amusement, especially for the younger members of the audience, the rest of the audience showed full appreciation of the production and the creativity of the actors. Overall the first night’s audience, which included the Italian Ambassador Stefano Moscatelli, United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray and theatre enthusiasts from the diplomatic and business community were truly entertained.
“We are very happy to be back in Zimbabwe and to perform at Hifa for the second time,” said the play’s director Anna Fascendi in an interview after their first performance. “We really enjoyed performing here and we appreciate the audience’s reaction.” — Staff Writer/Own Correspondent.