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In a time of antigovernment Oath Keepers, Idris Goodwin's The Raid seems appropriate

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Last winter local theater critics Hedy Weiss and Chris Jones got worked up over a play for young people, This Is Modern Art (Based on True Events), arguing in their separate reviews that it romanticizes the illegal act of tagging. That got lots of people worked up over Weiss and Jones—including Kevin Coval, the play's coauthor, who smeared them as "old white people" even though he's middle-aged and white himself.

Present but relatively quiet in all of this was the other (younger and black) coauthor, Idris Goodwin. I didn't think much about it at the time, inasmuch as Coval tends to suck up a lot of media air. But now I wonder if Goodwin was just pacing himself, aware that he'd soon be dealing with a style of protest a thousand times more alarming than some paint sprayed on a building. Premiering with Jackalope Theatre in November, Goodwin's The Raid concerns John Brown's 1859 attempt to trigger a slave revolt throughout the American south by taking the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia.

A description of the show says it "investigates the line between civic disobedience and civic duty, ultimately asking whether or not there's such a thing as justifiable violence." With antigovernment Oath Keepers promising to arm black protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, the question seems unnervingly appropriate to the historical moment.

11/4-12/12: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway, phoneTK, jackalopetheatre.org, $20, $15 students.

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