Pass Over

Spike Lee rolls into town to film Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of the Antoinette Nwandu play, an update of Waiting for Godot that transforms Vladimir and Estragon into two young black men (Julian Parker, Jon Michael Hill) killing time one night at the corner of 64th Street and King Drive. While they’re killing time, white America is trying to kill them, and in a sick variation on Beckett’s slapstick, they drop to the ground with every burst of police gunfire in the distance. The play reminded me of Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman in its uncompromising rage toward whites, which must have been the big attraction for Lee. He simply trains his cameras on a stage performance (directed by Danya Taymor), though there’s also a potent documentary frame in which parishioners from Saint Sabina’s Church in Auburn Gresham are bussed in for the show and react with knowing sadness to the violence exploding onstage.