The Vast Machine officially opens Oct. 13, with performances set to run through Nov. 7.
The play, also directed by Sharp, follows the story of a slave ship at sea and the dilemmas facing the crew. The playwright sought out Rediker at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is a professor of Atlantic History, and the two began collaborating on The Vast Machine, with Rediker attached as script consultant.
"The Slave Ship: A Human History" was awarded the 2008 George Washington Book Prize, among other distinguished awards. The text, drawn from 30 years of research, shines a light onto the history of British and American slave ships of the 18th century.
In The Vast Machine, a slave ship faces peril, and the remaining five members of the crew must decide what to do with the 235 living people beneath the deck. Set in the period in which slave trade was being outlawed, it offers insights into the crewmen who continued to perpetuate slavery crimes.
The cast features Brian Barnhart, Brian Carter, George Demas, Sean Patrick Monahan and Julian Rozzell. Set design is by Chad Yarborough with lighting design by David Zeffren, costume design by Karl Ruckdeschel, sound design by Steve Fontaine, original music by Paul Carbonara and dramaturgy by Marc Palmieri. Axis Theatre is located at one Sheridan Square, Manhattan. Tickets are from $25; to purchase visit AxisCompany or phone (212) 807-9300.