How this play crackles…

tim ocelDirector Tim Ocel, one of Geva’s associate artists and director of the upcoming The Whipping Man, reflects on the importance of the play’s story:

The Whipping Man is a relatively new play; and good new plays, like this one, crackle with our current conversations. They discuss unresolved and necessary things. They are immediate and confrontational. They speak of both the everyday and the extraordinary us.

All men are created equal. But when race, religion, gender, class structure, and other differences—all common indicators of our individual cultures, practices, and upbringings—become points of contention, we wonder if equality is possible. We wonder even, since we are all so different, what equality means. And we stammer in our conversation, because we don’t know how to rejoice in our points of intersection, or how to shake hands on our points of departure. We are so afraid of looking stupid or giving unintended offense that we avoid the exchange of thoughts and truncate our curiosity … which is unfortunate, because it’s the actual act of exchange that will bring about a common understanding.

There is no “same”; there is only “other.” What can be equal is our understanding. The question isn’t: How can we learn to live together? The question is: How are we together? What are we together? Are we strong? Will we survive with suffering or with love? Will we figure it out? And can we figure it out in a concrete enough way to pass that knowledge on to our children? Or will the sins of the parents once again infect the young?

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