THE WHIPPING MAN takes place over a period of three days in April, 1865. The American Civil War (1861—1865), which saw the northern states fighting against the southern states to end slavery and preserve the unity of the country, has just ended. The North has won the war, so all over the South the slaves are being freed. Soldiers are also returning home. One of them is young Caleb DeLeon, who fought for the South. Badly wounded, he finds his home in Richmond, Virginia in ruins and abandoned, except for two family slaves, the elderly Simon and the younger John. They are the only ones there who can care for Caleb’s wound and nurse him back to health. But they also need to teach their former young master that they are no longer slaves, and that things have changed. This is the source of the conflict in the play, as the three men wrestle with the pain and secrets of their bitter past as master and slaves, while trying to adapt to a new way of living and thinking about each other. Forgiveness and the responsibility that comes with freedom are the themes of this gripping new play which, since its premiere in New York in 2011, has become the third most produced play in the United States.
“Haunting, striking and powerful” (New York Times)