Once again, Spike Lee
has found an innovative theatrical production and brought it to blistering cinematic life. Antoinette Nwandu
’s Pass Over, produced in 2017 by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, combines Waiting for Godot, Biblical lore, and contemporary American race issues into a story that’s at turns funny, suspenseful, and bizarre. Lead characters Moses (Jon Michael Hill
) and Kitch (Julian Parker
) are waiting not for someone to come but for the time they’ll be able to leave the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and 64th Street and make it to “the promised land.” In the meantime, they shoot the shit, duck periodic gunfire, and have a strange encounter with a suspiciously polite, seersucker-suited white interloper (Ryan Hallahan
The strong religiosity in African American communities has historically infused their activist rhetoric with Biblical allusion, especially to the Book of Exodus and its story of the Jews escaping slavery.