The Dramaturgy Files of Emily Jane Warheit

Trailer for Iron Ladies of Liberia


Glossary for Eclipsed

Accra – Capital city of Ghana, West Africa. 

AK-47 – Assault rifle commonly used by irregular forces and traded illicitly. Originally produced in the USSR. AK stands for “Avtomat Kalasnikova.”

Book learning – Formal education.

The bush – Wilderness, the jungle. 

Cassava – A starchy root vegetable, native to South America and imported to Africa by Atlantic traders. It is relatively easy to cultivate and has become a major staple of the African diet. Also known as yuca or manioc.

CO – Commanding Officer

Compound – Residences in Africa that commonly include indoor and outdoor space, surrounded by a wall. In this case, the compound would have been secured against attack.

Cote D’Ivoire/Ivory Coast – Country in East Africa bordering Liberia to the East. Formerly a French Colony.

Samuel K. Doe – President of Liberia from 1986 to 1990. Came to power through a military coup in 1980, followed by elections in 1985. He was the first indigenous African Head of State of Liberia. 

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) -  Regional partnership between fifteen West African nations to promote economic cooperation. Played a major role in ending the conflict in Liberia.

Ghana – Country in West Africa, separated from Liberia by Cote D’Ivoire.

Juju – Originated by Europeans as a reference to African religion or superstition, the word now means any sort of spirit, magic, or supernatural power more generally. 

Kakata – A relatively large urban area in central Liberia.

Seun Kuti – A Nigerian musician and the son of Fela Kuti, musician and social activist.

Liberian Women’s Initiative – A Non-governmental Organization in Liberia focused on peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) – Rebel group in Liberia during the second civil war, whose stated purpose was to remove Charles Taylor from power.

Monrovia – Capital of Liberia, named for United States President James Monroe

Nimba County – A region in northeastern Liberia.

Youssou N’dour – Popular Senegalese musician.

Petrol - Gasoline

Small small – In Liberian dialect, “very small” or “a little.”

Stressed – Sick, upset, or unwell.

Charles Taylor – A former supporter of Samuel K. Doe, Taylor lead the National Patriotic Front of Liberia in an attack against Doe’s administration in 1989, marking the beginning of the first civil war.  

Vexed – upset, angry, or otherwise troubled.

Zamunda – Fictional African country from the movie Coming to America. The women are discussing the film at the start of the first scene.

“I am not a political scientist. I want to reflect on the stories and experiences of the least heard voices in the war zone. Women and younger people are always the most vulnerable. There is a proverb about Liberia, ‘When two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers.’ This play is definitely about the grass.”

—   Danai Gurira

Teaching ACS History in Maryland

Teaching resources on the American Colonization Society for Maryland state history teachers. 

Washington Post Review

Feature in LA Stage Times

Includes interview with Danai Gurira. 

Interview with Danai Gurira

From the McCarter Theatre blog.

Interview with playwright Danai Gurira. 

Timeline for lobby display.

Danai Gurira Official Website