Changing the pace from our large Main Stage productions and before heading into the holiday season with the spirited A Tuna Christmas, we move to a more intimate Black Box setting with a thought-provoking production at our Players Studio in the Rosemary District. Rounding out our Sidebar Series for the year is the play by Antoinette Nwandu, Pass Over, which premiered in 2017 at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, then had an off-Broadway run at Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater in 2018, and opened on Broadway in 2022 at the August Wilson Theatre, as well as a streamed on Amazon with a rendition from acclaimed director Spike Lee.
Keeping with Players’ Artistic Director Steven H. Butler’s vision for this season’s Sidebar Series, Pass Over is meant to intrigue and engage the audience to reflect on the fragility of the human condition. Antoinette Nwandu’s play reimagines Waiting for Godot, the play by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett that first premiered in French in Paris, 1953, and later, in English in London, 1955. Beckett’s English version was regarded as the “most significant English-language play of the 20th century” by the British Royal National Theatre’s poll in 1998.
In Nwandu’s bold American reconceptualization, Pass Over tackles the social and political injustices of the moment by telling the story through the eyes of two inner-city Black men, Moses and Kitch. Moses and Kitch stand around on the corner – passing the time and hoping that maybe today will be different. As they dream of their promised land, a stranger wanders into their space with his own agenda and derails their plans. Emotional and lyrical, Pass Over crafts everyday profanities into poetic and humorous riffs, exposing the unquestionable human spirit of young men stuck in a cycle just looking for a way out.
Butler’s desire to take on this story stems from a connection he felt to the play, its realness, and its timeliness. In the Players’ production, Butler looks to craft a performance that opens the audiences’ minds to the struggle of marginalized groups and connect them to the characters through their humanity, in the way that the performance he experienced impacted him.
Read our full interview with Artistic Director Steven H. Butler, where he discusses our production of Pass Over in depth.
The Sarasota Players’ performances of Pass Over begin this Friday, November 10, and runs through this weekend, November 10-12, and next, November 17-19. We hope to see you there!
For more information, all showtimes, and to purchase tickets, please visit https://theplayers.org/events-calendar/passover/.
Pass Over contains adult language and deals with gripping social issues and death.