The Alliance Theatre Whips up Powerful Production of ‘The Whipping Man’
“The Whipping Man” is like a frightening accident that makes you cringe, yet you can’t turn away from it because it’s one hell of a powerful play.
A wounded Jewish Civil War soldier, Caleb DeLeon (Jeremy Aggers), clambers into his front door in Richmond, Va., just as the war has ended, days before the Jewish holiday Passover. The home is nearly devoid of everything, except two of the family’s slaves, Simon (Keith Randolph Smith) and John (John Stewart).
Although Caleb has turned away from God, the DeLeon slaves were indoctrinated into Judaism, so Simon creates a Seder, the symbolic Passover dinner that commemorates the freedom of the Jewish slaves in biblical times in Egypt.
Like a Shakespearean play within a play, this is a celebration of freedom within a celebration. It’s a glimpse into the hypocrisy of religion and humanity.
Directed by Alexander Greenfield, “The Whipping Man” bleeds with a superb script by Matthew Lopez, and a good cast with a notable performance by Aggers. The Whipping Man” runs on the Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre through April 7.