Actor Brian Anthony Wilson is probably best known for his role as the cynical but ultimately honest detective Vernon Holley on the celebrated HBO drama The Wire, which spent five seasons examining drugs, poverty, race and politics in inner-city Baltimore. Wilson’s Holley was sometimes bitter, and like many of his colleagues in the precinct, Holley didn’t always have an answer for the endemic violence and depravity in the streets — or the high-stakes office politics.
Five years after The Wire concluded its run, Wilson’s latest gig, in the Dorset Theatre Festival’s production of Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man, explores racial identity and politics as well, but instead of the gritty streets of the early 21st century, Wilson is transported back to post-Civil War Richmond, where he portrays a now-free slave guarding an abandoned homestead.
The play examines war, wounds, addiction and cultural identity, since the former slaves and their owner are Jewish.
Brian Anthony Wilson has had a long career on stage and screen, appearing in films and TV shows like Rounders, Law and Order: SVU, Silver Linings Playbook, and Limitless, to name a few.
He’ll appear in the Dorset Theatre Festival’s production of The Whipping Man through July 20.