Oct. 18-19, 8 p.m., Sun., Oct. 20, 3 p.m., Oct. 24-26, 8 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 27, 3 p.m. 2013
It's the world's most unusual Passover seder. The guests: two former slaves and their one-time master, an injured Jewish Confederate soldier who has just returned home at the end of the Civil War to find his mansion in shambles and his family gone. The food: hardtack instead of matzo, collard greens instead of bitter herbs. The music: the African-American spiritual "Go Down, Moses," which makes the parallels between the freeing of the Israelites and the African-Americans all the more clear. In The Whipping Man, the three Jews (yes, in Matthew Lopez's play—and, apparently, in history—there are African-American Jews in 1865) must put aside differences to celebrate Pesach together as relationships are rebuilt, secrets are revealed and the men struggle to find a place in the postwar social order. The ArtsCenter production features Alphonse Nicholson, Victor Rivera and Phillip B. Smith; Mark Filiaci directs.
—Emma D. Miller