Entertainment & Arts

Lupita Nyong'o praised for Broadway debut in Eclipsed

Lupita Nyong'o and the cast of Eclipsed on stage Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lupita Nyong'o, centre, with the cast of Eclipsed, her first Broadway play

Star Wars actress Lupita Nyong'o has gained rave reviews for her Broadway debut - performing in a role she first played at drama school.

Eclipsed, written by The Walking Dead actress Danai Gurira, is set during the second Liberian civil war.

Nyong'o, who won the best supporting actress Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, plays the 15-year-old captive wife of a rebel warlord.

Trade paper Variety praised her "intelligent" performance.

The website Deadline said the actress "lights up" the stage.

It described the play - set in a rebel compound - as a "major achievement", with Nyong'o demonstrating "extraordinary" power.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Danai Gurira, pictured left with Nyong'o has also been praised for her Broadway debut

Eclipsed, which opened at New York's Golden Theatre on Sunday, depicts the roles women played in the civil war, in which warlords conscripted child soldiers and performed human sacrifices.

The five-strong all-woman cast play characters that do not have names, with Nyong'o identified only as The Girl and the other women known as the "wives" of a commanding officer.

Eclipsed, directed by Liesl Tommy, is also a Broadway debut for Gurira, who plays samurai sword-wielding Michonne in the horror television series.

'Searing and stunning'

The New York Times was fulsome in its praise, describing Nyong'o as "one of the most radiant young actors to be seen on Broadway in recent seasons".

It says the play "shines with a compassion that makes us see beyond the suffering to the indomitable humanity of its characters", and that it "resonates powerfully today, as more than one African country continues to be plagued by atrocious violence".

Associated Press drama writer Mark Kennedy said Nyong'o "loses herself utterly in the searing and stunning play", with the production hailed as "an extraordinary work that shines and shines".

Image copyright Instagram/Lupita Nyong'o
Image copyright Instagram/Lupita Nyong'o

Nyong'o posted a message on Instagram saying it was "such a thrill" to make her Broadway debut, noting Eclipsed is "the first play on Broadway to be written, directed and performed by all women" and that they are "making history".

The 33-year-old added: "I first played my character as an understudy in drama school.

"I never went on, and I promised myself back then that I would play 'The Girl' some day, somehow, somewhere, so it's mind-blowing to get to do it on Broadway."

She added that it was an "emotionally intense" experience to be in the play - and that she knits backstage to calm her nerves.

Nyong'o has described herself as a "child of theatre", saying the medium "offers a chance to flex muscles that then only help to sustain cinematic work".

Nyong'o played the CGI character Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and is due to reprise the role in one of the forthcoming sequels.

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