; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: The Whipping Man

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Whipping Man

It's a timely piece of theatre, with Black History Month just coming to an end, and concerns about racism running rampant on North America's current consciousness. The Whipping Man however takes place after the American civil war, where slaves are freed but are they really? Confederate soldier Caleb (played by Giovanni Mocibob) returns home, defeated and not sure what is in store for him. He is greeted by two former family slaves, the level-headed but naive Simon (played by Tom Pickett), and the effervescent but angry John (played by Carl Kennedy).

This tale of secrets and betrayal is mounted on a set that reflects the splintered state of the country at the time, a house ransacked and exhausted, much like the characters. The pacing of some of the scenes seemed a bit off at times, and the material hangs heavy in the air at the Pacific Theatre with its intensity.

It isn't often that you hear stories about Jewish families owning slaves, or having black slaves who observe the Jewish faith. In The Whipping Man, we are witness to a leg amputation from the get-go, followed later by a traditional Jewish seder, since it just so happens to be Passover.

The Whipping Man is on now at the Pacific Theatre until March 21.

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