This new play by J. Nicole Brooks draws on the real story of female rebels in Liberia during its recent civil war. Colonel “Black Diamond” (an electrifying Alana Arenas) leads her warriors not just against the repressive government but also men on either side of the struggle who abuse women, while an idealistic African-American journalist working for the BBC tries to capture the women’s stories. Directed by Brooks and David Catlin with a gutsy physicality removed from Lookingglass’s usual pretty tableaux, it’s a piece that feels truly dangerous in all the ways that matter. First-time dramatist Brooks delivers snippets of Liberia’s dense history with deft humor; the story focuses on the journalist at the expense of the women, but the playwright and the company deserve credit for tackling a big, messy subject with compassion and panache. a Through 5/20: Thu 6:30 PM, Fri 7 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan, 312-337-0665, $20-$50.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Liz Lauren.