Published : Thursday, September 13, 2018 | 11:03 AM
It is April, 1865. The Civil War is over and throughout the South, slaves are being freed, soldiers are returning home and in Jewish homes, the annual celebration of Passover is being celebrated. Into the chaos of war-torn Richmond comes Caleb DeLeon, a young Confederate officer who has been severely wounded. He finds his family’s home in ruins and abandoned, save for two former slaves, Simon and John, who wait in the empty house for the family’s return. As the three men wait for signs of life to return to the city, they wrestle with their shared past, the bitter irony of Jewish slave-owning and the reality of the new world in which they find themselves. The sun sets on the last night of Passover and Simon – having adopted the religion of his masters – prepares a humble Seder to observe the ancient celebration of the freeing of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt, noting with particular satisfaction the parallels to their current situation. But the pain of their enslavement will not be soothed by this tradition, and deep-buried secrets from the past refuse to be hidden forever as the play comes to its shocking climax. The Whipping Man is a play about redemption and forgiveness, about the lasting scars of slavery, and the responsibility that comes with freedom.
Matthew Lopez is the playwright. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida. The Whipping Man was originally produced in 2006. Lopez’s other plays include The Legend of Georgia McBride, Tio Pepe, Alien Monster Bowling League, The Inheritance, Queen Leah and more.
C. Julian White directs. He is the new Associate Artistic Director of Sierra Madre Playhouse. The African American actor and director received his MFA from the University of Iowa and received classical training at Oxford University. A certified Meisner teacher, he is an Adjunct Professor at Cal Poly Pomona, where he teaches Acting, Directing, Stage Combat, and Movement. His acting credits include roles in Much Ado About Nothing, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Julius Caesar, Othello, Titus Andronicus, King Lear, and much more. His directing credits include Cabaret, The Taming of the Shrew, Welcome Home Jenny Sutter, The Road to Mecca, The Trojan Women, Medea, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. He recently appeared in the web series Just Jackie.
The Whipping Man. Staged reading of a play. Written by Matthew Lopez. Directed by C. Julian White. Presented by Sierra Madre Playhouse. Monday, October 22, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. At Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. This is just east of Pasadena. There is ample free parking behind the Playhouse. Admission: Free. Donations gratefully accepted. Reservations are not necessary. For information, go to www.sierramadreplayhouse.org or call (626) 355-4318.