Based on the National Book Award winning novel by Charles Johnson
Co-adapted by David Barr III & Ilesa Duncan
Directed by Ilesa Duncan
Middle Passage is an epic work adapted from Charles Johnson's celebrated book of the same name. Written for the stage by David Barr, III and Ilesa Duncan, the story follows cavalier, self-confessed rascal Rutherford Calhoun, a recently freed slave, from Illinois down to decadent 1830 New Orleans. In an attempt to escape debtors and avoid a forced marriage, he stows away on an outbound rigger, The Republic. But The Republic is not just any ship. It's a slave ship -- and it's headed to Africa. Thus begins a voyage of self-discovery that changes our young hero forever.
Co-adaptors David Barr III and Ilesa Duncan, Lifeline Artistic Director, revisit Johnson's epic tale, originally mounted at Pegasus Theatre in 2016 under the title Rutherford's Travels, to share a tale of personal growth within a dark phase of American history. Of Middle Passage, the Chicago Tribune said, "Long after we'd stopped believing in the great American novel, along comes a spellbinding adventure story that may be just that."