Civil War Demons Come to Life in "The Whipping Man"

“The Whipping Man,” a play by Matthew Lopez, is playing at the Indiana Repertory Theatre now through March 24, 2013.

The stage is set 1865, as Jews across the country celebrate Passover in a post-Civil War America. Caleb DeLeon, a Jewish Confederate soldier, returns from the war badly wounded only to find his family missing. Not only is his family home in ruins, it is occupied by two former slaves, Simon and John, who are forced to care for Caleb. The drama is intense early on, as Simon must amputate Caleb’s leg, with whiskey as the only anesthetic. John, his reluctant assistant, is both smart and optimistic about the future.

The play examines the disillusionment of these former slaves as they wait for the return of the DeLeon family. Together, these three men must face extreme scarcity as they try to survive. Along the way, they are forced to face long-buried demons of the past, as well as an uncertain future. They learn that evils like slavery and war are capable of tainting the souls of even good men.

“The Whipping Man” earned very positive reviews when it premiered as a Manhattan Theater Club production in 2011.

Amazingly, Matthew Lopez, who earned an undergraduate degree in theater performance from the University of South Florida in Tampa, has no formal training as a playwright. They play was winner of the 2011 John Gassner New Play Award from the NY Outer Critics Circle.

Event Info:

  • Through March 24, 2013.
  • The Indiana Repertory Theatre, 140 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
  • Tel. 317-635-5252
  • Website