*If you’re wondering what you should do this weekend to ring out Black History Month - we’ll give you a clue: Run, don’t walk, to the Pasadena Playhouse.
It’s the closing weekend for Matthew Lopez’s multi-award winning play “The Whipping Man.” The play takes place around 1865. The Civil War has ended, leaving destruction in its wake. As a raging storm illuminates what’s left of a once majestic plantation home, three Jewish men prepare for Passover—the owner’s son, and his family’s former slaves. Only one of them, Simon, remains strong in his faith, but it is threatened with truths about what happened in this house—and in their lives—during its antebellum days.
Stage and television star Charlie Robinson stars in the play as “Simon,” and he spoke with EURweb.
“Some of its very painful. But some of it is very, very uplifting,” he says about the production. Robinson was actually in the West Coast premiere of “The Whipping Man” about four years ago at the Old Globe Theatre, and won an NAACP Image award for his work.
“There is so much that I didn’t know doing it then, that I know now,” Robinson admits rather excitedly. The actor says that a lot of what he brings to the role is what he got from his father – who he describerd as a “very pious Protestant” who went to the COGIC and was “a Christian all the way.”
Robinson plays a Jew in this role, and even speaks Hebrew in the play. He says about the role he plays, “It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic, Protestant, it’s this kind of love inside of you, and my father had it, and that’s what I try to bring to this role.”
And he does. Robinson plays “Simon” and his focused sensibility to perfection.
Charlie Robinson absolutely raves about the two men who work with him in the play. “Caleb DeLeon,” (played exquisitely by Adam Haas Hunter) is the son of the former slave owner, who has been away fighting as a Confederate soldier. And then there is “John” the slave who lived in the house with Caleb and Simon, and became an intellectual after learning how to read – played beautifully by Jarrod M. Smith.
And the three of them take the audience on a ride, starting with a task that Simon is charged with: to amputate Caleb’s leg.
The Pasadena Playhouse teamed up with South Coast Repertory once again with this production of “The Whipping Man.”
Needless to say, Caleb does not want his leg amputated!
The deed has been done.
Simon remains the strongest in faith.
The play is directed by Martin Benson.
THE WHIPPING MAN CLOSES MARCH 1.
The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. Single tickets for “The Whipping Man” are $30.00 – $75.00. Single tickets and subscriptions are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org, by calling the Box Office at 626-356-7529 or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office. The box office phone lines are open Monday-Friday 12:00 pm -6:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm -6:00 pm on non-performance dates. The windows are open from Monday-Sunday 12:30 pm -6:00 pm on non-performance dates. On performance dates the box office windows are open Monday from 12:30 pm – 6:00 pm and Tuesday-Saturday 12:30 pm -8:00 pm, and Sunday from 12:30 pm -7:00 pm. For groups of 8 or more call 626-921-1161.