Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pasadena Playhouse: Los Angeles Times: "The Whipping Man" Playwright: "I saw two groups not seeing their shared history" of enslavement and persecution

On November 22, 2014 AfriClassical posted:

South Coast Repertory's 'The Whipping Man' Set For The Pasadena Playhouse 2014-2015 Season

Los Angeles Times

January 3, 2015

By Mike Boehm

Martin Benson deferred his enlistment in Civil War drama for half a century, but now the stage director is bringing a zeal for realism to "The Whipping Man," his first assignment concerning America's bloody — and far from finished — reckoning with the consequences of slavery.

Matthew Lopez's play is set in a ruined, looted mansion in Richmond in the days immediately following the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. In the opening scene, a downpour engulfs two newly freed slaves who've spent their lives in the house, serving the masters and sharing their Jewish faith.                                                                                                                                                
It's a small irony that "The Whipping Man's" playwright grew up in Pensacola, Fla., rolling his eyes at people caught up in reenacting moments from the War Between the States in meticulous detail — namely his parents and younger brother. They were Civil War buffs and battle re-creation enthusiasts who gradually filled the house with muskets, uniforms, tents and everything else needed to impersonate a combatant.
"As a teenager, I was absolutely mortified they were doing this," Lopez, 37, recalled from his home in Brooklyn.

The upshot, many years later, was a play that was developed and first staged by a New Jersey theater, Luna Stage, in 2006, then took off after subsequent productions in Minneapolis in 2009 and at the Old Globe in San Diego in 2010, where Lopez made final revisions.

Comment by email:
Wonderful! Thanks so much, Bill!  [Jonathan White]

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