Monthly Archive for: ‘April, 2013’

The Whipping Man–A Well Crafted Historical Drama at MTC

Tobie Windham (John) and Nicholas Pelczar (Caleb) in the Bay Area premiere of Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man at Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, EXTENDED – now playing through April 28.

The Whipping Man is an imaginative and compelling play by Matthew Lopez which is having its Bay Area Premiere at Marin Theatre Company in a co-production with Virginia Stage Company where MTC’s Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis directed it in March.

The drama tells the story of a wounded Confederate soldier who returns home in the days after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in 1865.  Waiting for him are two former family slaves who survived the destruction of Richmond in the family home–a half destroyed mansion.  These two newly freed African Americans are Jewish, as is the Confederate soldier, their former master’s son who hobbles home badly wounded.  When Caleb (Nicholas Pelczar), the wounded soldier, reveals a nasty gunshot wound in the leg that is turning gangrenous, his former slave Simon (L. Peter Callender), an experienced medic’s assistant, declares the leg must be amputated.  Then, in comes John (Tobie Windham) who is about Caleb’s age and a childhood playmate of his.  Now the trio is complete and all three actors are superb!

The time is the first night of Passover.  In Act II, the three men begin the ritual of an improvised Passover Seder. The words about being freed from the bonds of slavery take on an even deeper meaning when comparing Moses leading the ancient Hebrews out of Egypt with Lincoln freeing the slaves.  There are last minute revelations but they seem to bring the play full circle.  What we learn about Caleb and John and then, Simon and Caleb brings the play’s interest home–Simon, Caleb and John are now a family both inside of, and outside of, slavery.

Marin Theatre Company’s production benefits from the expertly realized work of Set Designer Kat Conley of a half destroyed southern mansion. The shadowy lighting by Ben Wilhelm is also effective.  Brilliantly directed by Jasson Minadakis, this play is a real winner!

Due to an enthusiastic audience response, The Whipping Man is extended through April 28, 2013.  Performances are Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 7 p.m. There are Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Extra performances are Saturday, April 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. and Thursday, April 11 at 1 p.m. All performances are held at Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. For tickets, call 415-388-5208 or go online at marintheatre.org.

Coming up next at Marin Theatre Company will be The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh directed by Mark Jackson, May 23-June 16, 2013.

Flora Lynn Isaacson

 

 

 

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