Study Guide: The Whipping Man

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Student study guide for The Whipping Man


<ul><li><p>SUPPORT:</p><p>STUDY GUIDE Hartford Stage Education Programs are supported by:</p><p>MAJOR SPONSORSAllied World Assurance CompanyAnonymousBeatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, as recommended by Linda &amp; David GlicksteinJ. Walton Bissell Foundation Ensworth Charitable Foundation Greater Hartford Arts Council Lincoln Financial Foundation SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc. Travelers Foundation</p><p>SUPPORTING SPONSORSBarnes Foundation, Inc.Elizabeth Carse FoundationCitizens BankDSJJ Fund of Tides FoundationEnterprise Holdings FoundationMr. &amp; Mrs. William Foulds Family FoundationThe Ellen Jeanne Goldfarb Memorial Charitable TrustGreater Hartford Automobile Dealers AssociationHartford Steam Boiler Inspection &amp; Insurance CompanyHartford Wolf Pack Community Foundation, Inc.Aaron Hollander and Simon Hollander Funds Kaman Corporation LEGO Childrens Fund NewAlliance Foundation Charles Nelson Robinson Foundation TD Charitable FoundationWells Fargo</p><p>For more information about Hartford Stages innovative education programs, visit or call 860.520.7206</p><p>By Matthew Lopez Directed by Hana S. Sharif</p><p>PRODUCTION SPONSOR:</p><p>ADDITIONAL SUPPORT:</p><p>HARTFORDSTAGE.ORG 860-527-5151FEBRUARY 23 - MARCH 18, 2012</p><p>HAUNTING, STRIKING AND POWERFUL. The New York Times</p><p>THE WHIPPING MAN IS PRESENTED BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT WITH SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.</p><p>PRODUCTION SPONSOR:</p><p>THE WHIPPING MAN IS PRESENTED BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT WITH SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.</p></li><li><p>2Study Guide ObjectivesThis study guide serves as a classroom tool for teachers and students, and addresses the following Connecticut curriculum standards for grades K-12:</p><p> English Language Artso 2.4: Exploring and Responding to Literature. Students recognize that readers and </p><p>authors are influenced by individual, social, cultural, and historical contexts. Theatre</p><p>o 5: Researching and Interpreting. Students will research, evaluate and apply cultural and historical information to make artistic choices.</p><p>o 6: Connections. Students will make connections between theatre, other disciplines and daily life.</p><p>o 7: Analysis, Criticism and Meaning. Students will analyze, critique, and construct meanings from works of theatre.</p><p>Guidelines for Attending the TheatreAttending live theatre is a unique experience with many valuable educational and social benefits. To ensure that all audience members are able to enjoy the performance, please take a few minutes to discuss the following audience etiquette topics with your students before you come to Hartford Stage.</p><p> How is attending the theatre similar to and different from going to the movies? What behaviors are and are not appropriate when seeing a play? Why?</p><p>o Remind students that because the performance is live, the audience can affect what kind of performance the actors give. No two audiences are exactly the same and no two performances are exactly the samethis is part of what makes theatre so special! Students behavior should reflect the level of performance they wish to see.</p><p> Theatre should be an enjoyable experience for the audience. It is absolutely all right to applaud when appropriate and laugh at the funny moments. Talking and calling out during the performance, however, are not allowed. Why might this be?</p><p>o Be sure to mention that not only would the people seated around them be able to hear their conversation, but the actors on stage could hear them, too. Theatres are constructed to carry sound efficiently! </p><p> Any noise or light can be a distraction, so please remind students to make sure their cell phones are turned off (or better yet, left at home or at school!). Texting, photography, and video recording are prohibited. Food and gum should not be taken into the theatre.</p><p> Students should sit with their group as seated by the Front of House staff and should not leave their seats once the performance has begun. If possible, restrooms should be used only during intermission.</p></li><li><p>Matthew Lopez on The Whipping Man</p><p>History is the story of life interrupted, </p><p>suspended momentarily, and then </p><p>put back differently. History is the constant reshuffling of the deck </p><p>of cards that is the human experience. </p><p> When History Ends and Life Begins, </p><p>Performances</p><p> I think what most surprised me is how unbelievably fragile the specific sequence of events were that went into making the play possible. If only one thing had gone awry, if one of the generals had dug in his heels a little longer, if rational thought had trumped emotional action on the part of everyone in this history, I simply wouldnt have a story. It was a perfect storm of history. An Interview With the Playwright, Stagebill</p><p>I hate plays in which if one of the characters could end the play by simply saying screw this, Im outta here and doesnt. I made a solemn vow never to write one of those. Hence all the things keeping my characters in this house An Interview With the Playwright, Stagebill</p><p>3</p><p>TIMELINE OF HISTORICAL EVENTS</p><p> 1777The American colony of Vermont is the first government entity to abolish slavery.</p><p> 1780Pennsylvania is the first state to abolish slavery with laws that call for gradual abolition.</p><p> 1783The state of Massachusetts abolishes slavery and grants voting rights to blacks and Native Americans.</p><p> 1787Delegates at the Constitutional Convention debate whether the Congress should end the importation of slaves. Delegates from Georgia and South Carolina threaten that their states will not join the Union and win concessions that the slave trade cannot be restricted for 20 years. Congress passes the three-fifths clause, which allows each slave to be counted as three-fifths of a person for representation in Congress. The power of slave states is strengthened as a result.</p><p> July 1787Congress passes the Northwest Ordinance, preventing slavery from existing in newly acquired territories.</p><p> 1790Of Richmond, VAs approximately 3,700 residents, about 100 are Jewish.</p><p> 1791Vermont enters the Union as a free state.</p><p> 1792Kentucky enters </p><p>Playwright Matthew Lopez.</p></li><li><p> I was drawn to the Civil War because it provided two calamities in one event: war and slavery. How do you go from being a slave all your life to being free? What are the psychological mechanics of that? I wanted to write about slaves who have just recently been set free. But how does that shift work? For Caleb, the white character in the play, the question was: what do you do after four years of war and your home is destroyed? How do you rebuild not just your infrastructure, but your way of life, particularly when it was your very way of life that started the war in the first place? Interview: Matthew Lopez Explains Berkshire On Stage</p><p>4</p><p>In terms of the role of onstage violence throughout history, it is as old as theatre itselfthe Greek and Shakespearian eye-gouging, infanticide, beheadings, poisonings, shootings and all those wonderful run-throughs with a sword. Theatre-goers are bloodthirsty people by and large. It harkens back to the Roman gladiatorial exhibitions. I think the difference, of course, is the effect the violence has on the story. At the risk of sounding flippant about human suffering, its no different than a song in a musical: if it helps reveal character or propel the plot, I say go for it. If it doesnt, its gratuitous. An Interview With the Playwright, Stagebill</p><p>the Union as a slave state. February 1793Congress </p><p>passes the first Fugitive Slave Act, requiring all runaway slaves to be returned to their masters and imposing a fine of $500 on anyone found aiding a fugitive.</p><p> 1796Tennessee enters the Union as a slave state.</p><p> 1800The national census finds that approximately 17% of the population of the United States consists of slaves. There are virtually no slaves in the northern states but percentages are quite high in the south, including 42% in South Carolina and 39% in Virginia.</p><p> August 1800In Richmond, Virginia, slave Gabriel Prosser leads a rebellion in which he and a group of armed slaves plan to seize Capitol Square and take Governor James Monroe hostage. The rebellion is unsuccessful, and Prosser and many of his followers are captured and executed.</p><p> 1803Ohio enters the Union as a free state, per the terms of the Northwest Ordinance.</p><p> 1804The New Jersey state legislature introduces a gradual emancipation act.</p><p> March 1807The U.S. Congress bans the importation of any new slaves into the United States, effective January 1, 1808.</p><p>It illustrated for me how pernicious and unavoidable </p><p>slavery was: that Jews, with their own history of enslavement could own </p><p>slaves themselves. It seemed to me the most regrettable </p><p>of hypocrisies and one that might resonate with a modern audience, both Jewish and non-Jewish. </p><p>We are all the result of the mistakes and the hypocrisies of our American forebears. </p><p> Interview: Matthew Lopez Explains Berkshire </p><p>On Stage</p><p>What fascinates me are the moments that </p><p>history skips over: when calamity subsides and life is free to return to normal. When History Ends and Life Begins, Performances</p></li><li><p>5Themes for DiscussionFreedom and Identity Fellow Jews or master and slaves? Best friends, brothers, fellow free men . . . or owner and property? As one army surrenders to another, a nation, once torn in two, begins the painful process of reconstruction, and the word freedom takes on new meaning. For three men, two black and one white, who they are as a people and as a household is forever altered and they are forced to redefine themselves and each other within a new normal. In Matthew Lopezs The Whipping Man, freedom is a condition that governs who each man was, is, and can be. In the days following General Lees surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Confederate Captain Caleb DeLeon returns home to find his home city of Richmond, Virginia, in ruins. Calebs leg, wounded in battle, has become gangrenous and needs to be amputated. For help, he must rely on Simon and John, two longtime slaves in the DeLeon household. The news of the Northern victory has brought Simon and John new identities as free men, and this new status is an immediate factor. As Caleb orders Simon to find more whiskey to aid in the leg amputation that </p><p>SIMON: Bein FREE means more than just broken chains . . . It means FREEDOM from anything that breaks your SPIRIT or muddies your MIND. Because theres MORE </p><p>THAN JUST ONE WAY a man can be a SLAVE. (Act II, Scene 2)</p><p>Simon will perform, Simon issues Caleb a gentle reminder: All these things youre telling me to do, by rights now you need to be asking me to do (I, 1). John, too, muses over how freedom has instantly redefined the mens roles. What do I call you now, John wonders. Master doesnt quite fit no more . . . Sir? Do I address you as sir, now (I, 1)? For Simon and John, freedom from slavery in mid-19th century America is more than the victory at the end of a civil war. It is the fulfillment of an ancient promise made to them as Gods chosen people. The DeLeon family shared their Jewish faith with their slaves and encouraged them to adopt it as their own. But while the Jews depicted in the stories of the Torah were freed from bondage, the DeLeons Jewish slaves remained as such until the Civil Wars Union victory allowed for a new exodus. From childhood, John fixated on the hypocrisy of Jewish slave owners, descendants of a people who were once enslaved themselves and who held it as a tenet of their faith to never enslave fellow Jews. Existence as a Jewish slave to a Jewish master created crises of identity and of faith for John. I poured over the books of the Torah . . . It certainly got me to thinking, he confesses in Act I, Scene 3. Were we Jews or were we slaves? Were we the children of Israel or were we just the heathen that were round about you? Because we couldnt be both, that was clear.</p><p> 1810The census finds that slaves still constitute 17% of the countrys population. 47% of South Carolinas population and 42% of Georgias population consists of slaves.</p><p> 1812Louisiana enters the Union as a slave state.</p><p> 1816Indiana enters the Union as a free state.</p><p> 1817Mississippi enters the Union as a slave state.</p><p> 1818Illinois enters the Union as a free state.</p><p> 1819Alabama enters the Union as a slave state.</p><p> 1820The census finds that slaves are now 15% of the countrys population. The percentage of slaves in southern states is as high as 51% in South Carolina and 45% in Louisiana.</p><p> March 1820The Missouri compromise is negotiated. It allows Maine to enter the Union as a free state and Missouri to enter as a slave state, thus keeping an even balance of free and slave states. The 3630 north parallel of latitude is also established as a dividing line between free and slave-holding areas of the territories.</p><p> 1827The state of New York abolishes slavery.</p><p> 1830The census finds that slaves are 16% of the total population of the United States, including 54% in South Carolina and 51% in Louisiana.</p><p> January 1831William Lloyd Garrison publishes </p></li><li><p>6 Despite his enslavement in the DeLeons home, Simon never allowed his Jewish faith to waver in the face of such questions. Whether you like it or not, Simon tells John in Act I, Scene 3, we are a family. We shared a faith. And that faith came to us from Calebs family. A gift. Generations brought up together in this house in the faith of God. When Passover, the celebration of the Israelites liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt, coincides with the freeing of the slaves in the American South, it propels Simon to further embrace his Judaism. For his entire life, he has been both a slave and a Jew. Now that he is no longer a slave, Simon even more fully inhabits his Jewish identity. The new Exodus has begun, and Simon demands that he, John, and Caleb not only observe it, but also proclaim their identities as free Jews.</p><p>SIMON: Pesach calls us to be what?CALEB: Free.SIMON: Pesach calls us to freedom. FREEDOM!CALEB: Freedom.SIMON: Let freedom ring in this house!(Act II, Scene 2)</p><p>Questions: Was Mr. DeLeon successful in his goal of teaching Caleb and John </p><p>the true relationship between a master and his slave (I, 3)? Why did Mr. DeLeon want to remind them that one was free and the other was not? How did Calebs and Johns experiences with the Whipping Man that day help shape their identities? What changes did this event prompt in their relationship?</p><p> During the Seder in Act II, Scene 2, Simon says that John is still a slave to the bottle and Caleb is a slave to his old ideas. What does he mean? Besides physical, what other kinds of slavery exist? How can John and Caleb free themselves from their enslavement? How does Calebs identity as an army deserter contribute to his enslavement? At the end of the play, what challenges must John and Caleb face if they want to become free?</p><p>The Power of Ownership What does it mean to own something, or more specifically, someone? How can the power derived from ownership be wielded t...</p></li></ul>


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