Passover meets emancipation in ‘Whipping Man’

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Director Matt Pfeiffer believes that great plays must ask great questions. He also believes that “The Whipping Man,” which opens March 15 under his direction for Gulfshore Playhouse, lives up to that requisite.
Even a short description of the play by Matthew Lopez, which made its New York premier in 2011, intrigues: “It’s Passover in 1865. The Civil War has just ended, and the annual celebration of freedom from bondage is being observed in Jewish homes across the country. One of these homes, that of the DeLeon family in Virginia, sits in ruins. Confederate officer Caleb DeLeon has returned from the war to find his family missing and only two former slaves remaining on the property. Caleb is badly wounded and the men, Simon and John, are forced to care for him.”

This isn’t the first time that Mr. Pfeiffer has directed “The Whipping Man.” The same year the play won the 2011 John Gassner New Play Award from the New York Outer Critics Circle, he directed it at the famed Arden Theatre in Philadelphia.