As a tribute to the one-hundred-fiftieth anniversary of the Civil War, we are pleased to present the Midwest premiere of this Obie Award winning play.
“This play,” says Artistic Director David Magidson, “is a jewel of the theatre. Inside an exciting war framework it tackles issues of family, tradition, freedom, slavery, compassion and hate – all without us really being aware of it. This is the theatre at its best.”
Director of the play and Artistic Director of Plowshares Theatre Company Gary Anderson contributes, “This is the collaboration that JET and Plowshares have been looking for; it provides a direct connection between the Jewish and African American communities. The play brings to light the connection there is between faith and freedom. When praying for deliverance, one does not always know it is coming. But when deliverance is bequeathed, it is our duty to remind the new generations for whom freedom was a given just how precious and potentially delicate it really is.”
It is the first night of Passover, 1865. Time for a Seder. Where? A half-destroyed house in Richmond, Va. The wine? Stolen. The matzo: a small square of hardtack, the tough soldier’s bread. Uncooked collard greens play the role of the bitter herbs. And the three unlikely participants? All Jewish: two newly freed slaves and a Confederate soldier whose family home all three are uncomfortably inhabiting in the reordered aftermath of the just-concluded Civil War. It is Simon, the elder of the two former slaves and a man of strong, unswerving faith who leads the ceremony.
This arresting new play blazes with intelligence, making everything we think we have always known new again as Simon hauntingly intones, “Let all who are in need come celebrate Pesach. This year we are slaves, next year may we be free.” And then with an emotionally potent few verses of “Go Down Moses,” makes the connection between the suffering of enslaved Jews and the African-Americans sold or born into slavery.
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