NEW YORK — In an effort to shine a light on the hundreds of girls abducted from a school in Nigeria two years ago, all performances of the Broadway play “Eclipsed” will be dedicated to the still-missing victims.
Playwright Danai Gurira told The Associated Press on Friday that each future performance of her play will be dedicated to a girl who has been abducted by the Boko Haram and will be named in her honor.
“I created ‘Eclipsed’ because this sort of problem exists and continues to exist globally. It was about bringing voice and attention to it because it does require a collective activism,” she said. “This is a play that wants to continue to be a movement.”
“Eclipsed,” starring Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o, is about enslaved women in Liberia’s 12-year civil war. Gurira also plays the katana-wielding walker assassin Michonne on AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
Gurira said she was inspired by meeting human rights lawyer and activist Emmanuel Ogebe, whose organization, Education Must Continue, provides educational opportunities for hundreds of victims. Through Ogebe, Gurira said she has met several of the girls who escaped the Boko Haram.
She wants to connect the horrors of Liberia’s past to the “gender-based terrorism” of today, give voice to the missing girls and keep them alive in theater-goers’ consciousness. The production will also offer ways to find more information and connect online, using the hashtag BringBackOurGirls.
“The goal and the hope is that it brings awareness that causes people to want to get more involved and see how they can help,” Gurira said. “I’ve seen this country do amazing things with a collective consciousness, like around issues of apartheid back in the ’80s. There’s a way we, as a people, can effect change if we put our minds to it.”
The Boko Haram, which espouses an extreme form of conservative Islam, are believed to still be holding more than 200 girls two years after seizing them from their school in the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok, drawing worldwide condemnation.
Gurira said she’d like to dedicate her work to all girls, even those kidnapped in the U.S. “We’re focusing on Bring Back Our Girls but, by so doing, we really want to bring the focus on the fact that this is 2016 and we still live in a world that’s deeply unsafe if you are born female. That’s just unacceptable.”