Famed actress, Akosua Busia; 2015 Ghana Movie Award recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, returns to the site of the Buduburam Liberian Refugee Camp, after starring in ECLIPSED, at the Public Theater in New York.
Fittingly, Eclipsed is a play about the Liberian War. Buduburam is a far cry from the red carpets Busia is returning to after an 18 year hiatus she took from the Entertainment Business, in keeping with a promise to herself to come out of show-business following the birth of her child, Hadar Busia-Singleton, until Hadar turned eighteen.
In her hiatus, Busia spent her time in Ghana as Chair of Busia Foundation International, and Director General of CareShare. Along with her sister, Dr. Abena Busia, Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, USA, they brought Student Interns to Ghana, some of whom volunteered each year to help in various capacities at the Buduburam Camp, created to accommodate the influx of Liberians who fled to Ghana during the Liberian wars.
“It’s amazing to me to be back here,” Busia says, “and to be doing a play about all this in New York. I play a character named Rita, a Peace Woman, kind-of in the vain of a Leymah Gbowee, who is one of the renowned Peace Women, who along with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, won the Nobel Peace Prize for their instrumental part in putting an end of the Liberian Civil War. My sister and I invited Leymah Gbowee to the cast opening night of the Eclipsed play, along with friends Oprah Winfrey and Stevie Wonder. I felt very honored that they all came and saw me step back on stage again.”
“As the play opened at The Public Theater in New York this past September, this camp was dismantling after decades of being home to hundreds of thousands of Liberian Refugees. My sister and I brought people here to the camp over the years, to help. I’m hoping Eclipsed, which has been a great success, playing to packed houses, eight shows a week, and is now moving to a larger theater on Broadway, will also help, in that playwright Denai Gurera tells the story so realistically and honestly, people feel a lot of empathy during the play; there are a lot of tears, as well as shock, and for some, sad remembrances at what happened during the ravages of the decades long Liberian war,” she added.
Akosua further stated that “Director Liesl Tommy has a gift of getting actors to perform truthfully from the heart. She accepts nothing less than your committed mind, body, and soul. I am ever hopeful that in sitting back and watching Eclipsed and reflecting on the plight of the five women portrayed, people will be determined to never again allow to be inflicted, or inflict such human atrocities. Eclipsed is about the Liberian war, but remove the word Liberia, and Eclipsed could be about many countries existing in such conflicts to this day. It is my hope that by experiencing Eclipsed, it will be a reminder and strengthener for us all to say ‘Never again. Never, ever, ever, again!
On a lighter note, I asked Ms. Busia about the stunning red dress she wore at the Awards ceremony, and how she felt about having being voted the best dressed of the evening. She smiled and said the day of the awards, December 30th 2015, was her birthday, so it was altogether a great evening. The dress launched her new Royal Lineage line of clothing, her first outing being the House of Cho Cho, by Vanessa Harrison, with special jewelry created by Lekai Nelson.
Ms. Busia will be returning to the US at the end of the month, to begin preparations for the Broadway run of Eclipsed.
“I’m hopeful Eclipsed will continue to be a great success. We have wonderful, experienced producers (the only African American producing team on Broadway), Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones, heading the production. This is the first time a show will come to Broadway by all female, African artists: writer Denai, is from Zimbabwean, director Liesl, is from South Africa, actresses Lupita from Kenya, Saycon from Liberia, Zainab, Sierra Leone, Pascale, Haiti, and myself, of course from beautiful Ghana,“ she concluded.