The Whipping Man

by  Matthew Lopez

Full Length Play, Drama  /  3m

"Emotionally potent...surreal in the layers of meaning... a quiet force...We are in the hands of a playwright who wants to mess with our viscera." - The New York Times Read More
"A mesmerizing drama." - Newark Star-Ledger

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The Whipping Man

by  Matthew Lopez

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

  • Duration


    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


    Not Applicable
  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

It is April, 1865. The Civil War is over and throughout the south, slaves are being freed, soldiers are returning home and in Jewish homes, the annual celebration of Passover is being celebrated. Into the chaos of war-torn Richmond comes Caleb DeLeon, a young Confederate officer who has been severely wounded. He finds his family's home in ruins and abandoned, save for two former slaves, Simon and John, who wait in the empty house for the family's return. As the three men wait for signs of life to return to the city, they wrestle with their shared past, the bitter irony of Jewish slave-owning and the reality of the new world in which they find themselves. The sun sets on the last night of Passover and Simon - having adopted the religion of his masters - prepares a humble Seder to observe the ancient celebration of the freeing of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt, noting with particular satisfaction the parallels to their current situation. But the pain of their enslavement will not be soothed by this tradition, and deep-buried secrets from the past refuse to be hidden forever as the play comes to its shocking climax.
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  • WINNER - 2011 Outer Critics Circle Award, John Gassner Award
    NOMINEE -  2011 Off Broadway Alliance Award, Best New Play



"EMOTIONALLY POTENT...surreal in the layers of meaning... a quiet force...We are in the hands of a playwright who wants to mess with our viscera."
- The New York Times, Read More

"A cause for celebration. Mathew Lopez has come as close as any author could to producing a microcosm of the genesis of a wide range of today's Black American males." - Talkin' Broadway, Read More

"Lopez’s script is a triumph of economy and timing. He knows how to respect the truth and intention of his writing . . . His eloquence and simplicity border on poetry." Cultural Weekly, Read More


Afterlife: The Story of THE WHIPPING MAN
by Rebecca Schlossberg
December 14, 2015

by Courtney Kochuba
January 5, 2015


  • Syracuse Stage Actors Discuss 'The Whipping Man'
  • Behind the Scenes with the Cast and Crew of 'The Whipping Man'
More videos +


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
  • Church / Religious Groups


  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $125 per performance



  • Time Period: American Civil War Era
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: The ruins of a once grand home in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Additional Features: Stage Combat, Special Effects
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


SIMON - 50s; former slave in the DeLeon home.
CALEB - 20s; only child of the DeLeon family.
JOHN - 20s; former slave in the DeLeon home.
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Cast Attributes

  • All Male
  • Ensemble cast
  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)


Available Services



Matthew Lopez

Matthew Lopez is the author of The Whipping Man, one of the most widely produced new American plays of the last several seasons. Since its world premiere at Luna Stage in 2006, it has played at over two dozen theatres across the country including The Old Globe, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, The Alliance Theatre, North ...

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The Whipping Man premiered at Luna Stage Company in Montclair, NJ in 2006. It was further developed and produced at Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul, MN and at the Old Globe in San Diego, CA and opened off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club in February of 2011.

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