By Ryan Robertson
Grand Island, NE – In August, the Nebraska State Fair celebrated its fifth year in Grand Island. Moving the Fair from Lincoln was a costly, and relatively rare, decision. As planning is well underway for the 2015 fair, NET News talked with fair officials and local business owners about whether or not that move is paying off.Read More
By Bill Grennan
Omaha, NE — The latest offering in the Omaha Playhouse’s Howard Drew Theatre takes a look at post-Civil War America.[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Whipping-Man-Web.mp3]
Now running through November 16th, the Omaha Community Playhouse’s production of The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez takes a unique look at faith, family, and race. Set at the end of the Civil War, a wounded Jewish Confederate soldier named Caleb finds his way to his parents’ ruined home. Upon his return, he discovers his family has fled their home leaving their former slaves, Simon and John, to care for the war-torn property. The three men, tied by faith, celebrate Passover with an impromptu Seder where secrets from their past come to light.
UNO student Andrew Prescott, who plays Caleb, said that because the lead character’s family were slave-owning Jews, the play takes a unique look at the American slavery dynamic of the mid 19th century.
“The director, Stephen Nachamie, talked about how there was such a small percentage of Jewish plantation owners in the South,” Prescott said. “Very little of them actually owned slaves. They would do it to fit in with the community even though it was against their religion because they celebrate the Passover. The Seder is a celebration of the freeing of Jews in Egypt. So to take slaves on is contradictory of that, but they did it to fit in with the culture and save what small amount of slaves they would take in and give them somewhat of a better life.”
Prescott said the cast, which includes Carl Brooks and Luther Simon, and creatives behind the show took care to recognize the delicate subject matter at hand, especially considering the many narratives in the media recently on race relation in America.
“I feel like with race, you kind of have to realize that…you can get lost in the moment,” he said. “But we would make sure that we would come back to earth and say, ‘This is the play but don’t beat each other up over it.’ It gets really intense at parts.”
The show also presented a unique acting challenge for a physical actor like Prescott. His character, Caleb, is wounded when he comes home and spends much of the play immobilized in a sitting couch so his physical movements are limited.
“Very slight shifting in terms of posture and direction,” he said. “If I’m talking to someone, I’m looking one way…then I shift my body to the right, which causes a little bit of pain. The movement is motivated because I want to direct my line to that person. Also, filling the space with your voice is very important. Giving that sense of emotion in your face.”
Prescott says that the show’s eloquent traversal of such difficult subject matter makes the show a must see for audiences.
The Omaha Community Playhouse’s Production of The Whipping Man will run through November 16th inside the Playhouse’s Howard Drew Theatre. For more information on the show, visit www.omahaplayhouse.com.
By Bill Kelly
Lincoln, NE -The alcohol related deaths of two Nebraska college students in Lincoln provided a disturbing reminder that sometimes the choices or lack of action by others can be part of a tragedy.Read More
By Ben Rasmussen
Omaha, NE — Everyone’s invited to UNO for a preview of the next Omaha Symphony Masterworks concert.Read More
By Bill Kelly
Lincoln, NE – The New Year will mean a raise for Nebraskans at the low end of the pay scale. An aggressive campaign to increase the state’s minimum wage won big.Read More
By NET News
Omaha, NE – Omaha, NE – Among the major races in Nebraska on Election Day only the 2nd Congressional District remains too close to call. With thousands of absentee ballots left to count, Democratic challenger Brad Ashford has a narrow lead on Republican incumbent Lee Terry.Read More