POST: 'Eclipsed' - not a wife anymore, she's a soldier
What's it about?
Eclipsed is about five women who are struggling with a war in their homeland, Liberia. This war challenged their patience, their identity, their beliefs and hope. They are all fighting to survive the war whether its being as a wife or a soldier or trying to bring peace in each station.
What'd I experience?
Every morning when I get ready for school, I always turn on the news so I can hear about train traffic and the weather. I also like waking up to it because when they go on commercial, they advertise all the new plays that are on Broadway. So when I heard about Eclipsed, I knew I had to see Lupita Nyong'o. I am just so fascinated by her.
The play takes place in 2003 in Liberia. There is currently a civil war between the rebels & the people who are trying to make peace. The rebels overthrew the government and now they're in charge. Each officer is stationed in a location with their wives. If a command/chief raids your home, women and children don't have a choice. The women and young girls are brutally raped, then they are separated into different homes. The men and young boys are then forced to be soldiers in the war. That's how "the new girl," Lupita Nyong'o, ended up in the commander's home (even though he's not aware of it).
His wives, Wife #1 and Wife #3, had hidden her away from him; because of that she sleeps under a bucket or hides every time he comes. But, one day she wakes up in the middle of the night and goes outside to pee. Wife #1 (the head wife in charge) is going crazy looking for her, because if he finds her she will become Wife #4.
But it's too late, he finds her and on that night she's brutally raped. Blood dripping down her legs, she goes from "the new girl" to Wife #4. She goes back inside and just wipes him away, like nothing ever happened. The next morning, she tells Wife #1 that she doesn't have to hide anymore because she's officially Wife #4. She didn't even finish her sentence, when the commander comes and points his finger and "the new girl" walks to his tent and she gets raped again. It was so heartbreaking, like the world is so fucked up that he just pointed his finger and she had to go, and she didn't even have a say. I was in tears, when she left. She didn't talk about her pain, she just "wiped him away" with a wet cloth and went back to her conversation.
This went on for several days, he liked her because Wife #1 was too old, Wife #2 had escaped & Wife #3 was pregnant with his child - so she was the only one that he liked. Every time she was raped she acted like it didn't bother her. Wife #3 was always confused why. She said the first time she had sexual intercourse with the commander she cried for days. I personally think that "the new girl," didn't cry in front of them because she wanted to be brave. If she did cry, then she would let him get his way as the superior. Instead she read out loud a book about Bill Clinton to the wives.
She was raped constantly. One day she finally met Wife #2 and Wife #2 told the new girl her side of the story. She told her that she was tired of constantly being raped, that one day she just got up and ran away to fight in the war. Now that she is in the war, no one can tell her what to do and no one can force himself on her. She's not a wife anymore, she's a soldier. Wife #2 got into the new girl's head, she was read to be a soldier. She escaped from the commander's house and fought in the army.
While capturing a commander, she had to give his wives to her commander. Instead of letting them go free (like how she thought), she was forced to give them to her commander. Her commander and other soldiers raped the women and young girls in front of her!!! One girl was bleeding, crying and begging them to stop but they didn't care, 5 men took turns on her. The new girl wanted to stop them but she knew that if she said something she would be the one getting raped, so she kept her mouth shut. The girl who was getting raped couldn't take it anymore, her eyes were rolling back and foam was coming out her mouth. She died. The men didn't care and kept on, then they dragged her body out and dropped it into the river. At this point I hated the new girl. I was so upset with her because she wanted to help but she didn't! I understand that she would've gotten rapped but she had a gun with her now, she could've killed the men if they tried to get close. She had joined the army to fight for women's freedom, instead she was doing the same thing!!
While she was away, Wife #1 and Wife #3 met this women named Rita, who was in the Women Peace Corp. Her job was to go around to see if she convince the rebels to peace. But in reality, she was looking for her daughter who was taken away from her by the rebels. She went behind each commander's back and talked to the wives to see if her daughter was one of them. She finally arrived to Wife #1's house and was hoping that the girl would be her daughter, but she couldn't know because she ran away. So each day she would come and give the wives food hoping the new girl would return.
One day, she did! The new girl explained what happened with her commander to Wife #1 and that's when Rita saw her. Rita looked up, and went fell down to tears. IT WASN'T HER!!! I was hoping it was, because Rita missed her daughter so much and the new girl missed her mother so much. I was hoping that even in a fucked situation there would still be hope. But I was wrong and I cried. I cried because it was too painful to watch.
A day passed on, and as I was losing hope, Rita came running to the house and told them the wives that the war was over. IT WAS FINALLY OVER. Everyone was excited. But all they knew was how to be the wife of the commander, they didn't know anything else.
They all decided to go, except Wife #3 because she had a baby girl named Clinton (yes! She named her after Bill Clinton!). Her explanation was that the commander was the father of her child, and she couldn't raise her all alone. So even if she didn't love him, she would follow him wherever he went. Again, I busted into tears, it was so sad! Everyone was free except for her. She sacrificed her freedom, so her daughter could grow up with a father.
Right after a play is over, I usually go straight home but not this time. I wanted to stay and see Lupita Nyong'o. She was breathtaking and this play wasn't just any play. It opened my eyes to what happened in Liberia. Not only that but it is an example of what's happening throughout the world. Women and children being brutally raped, people being forced to do things they don't want to do. I wanted to see Lupita Nyong'o, and all the women who where apart of this play. All the women were so powerful.
At first, I was all the way in the back (I'm only 4'11) but I squeezed myself to the front of the barriers. I had my playbill ready in hand just in case I saw her. One second I'm freezing my butt off, and next thing you know I hear people saying, "LUPITA, LUPITA, LUPITA." I looked up and there she was walking towards me, she came up to me first, I was so nervous. She actually saw my small self standing there. I handed her my playbill, and I said to her, "That was so powerful! Thank you Lupita." She responded, "thank you so much, thank you for coming." I was so emotional, the play was just so powerful. Not only did I meet Lupita Nyong'o but I met Akosua Busia, who played Rita and Zainab Jah, who played Maima. They were all so kind. They tried to speak to every single person who was waiting.