February 11, 2015

‘The Whipping Man’ takes to McLeod stage

by Vincent Rhomberg

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Like the searing sting of a sharp lash, “The Whipping Man” cracks onto the stage of the McLeod Theater at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Feb. 26 to March 1. 

The play tells the story of a wounded Jewish Confederate soldier who reunites with two of his former, now newly freed black slaves, at the ruins of his once-grand plantation. Bound by history and their shared Jewish faith, the men grapple with their responsibility toward each other and the harrowing secrets they hold. “The Whipping Man” examines the parallels of Jewish and African-American slavery as the three men struggle to face their futures in the new social order at the end of the Civil War. It is a moving look at newfound freedom, the legacy of slavery, the cost of redemption and the price of regret. 

The production features Nicholas Tanner Garren, a junior majoring in theater, as the former slave owner Caleb DeLeon; Nathaniel Washington, a sophomore musical theater major, as the pilfering John, and Jeffrey McGoy, assistant dean of students, as the steadfast Simon. Also appearing are Mike Terrana, a freshman musical theater major; Manning Goldman, a senior musical theater major, and Danny Cox, a senior majoring in cinema and photography. 

Segun Ojewuyi, associate professor and head of directing, directs the play. Graduate students Logan Reagan designed the set; Delaney McKenzie crafted the lighting; Libby Mueth created the costumes; Mike Maxwell mastered the sound, and Bobbi Masters served as assistant director. 

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 to 28, and at 2 p.m. on March 1. Tickets are $16, with student tickets at $6. Advance tickets are available from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays at the McLeod Theater or SIU Arena box offices; by phone at 618/453-6000, or online at the SIU Ticket Office. Tickets are also available at the door beginning one hour before each performance.