Idris Goodwin

Idris Goodwin

Idris Goodwin is a playwright, poet/performer and essayist. His play How We Got On developed at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, premiered in Actors Theatre’s 2012 Humana Festival, and is being produced at theatres across the country. It is the first in his “break beat play” series which includes The REALNESS and Hype Man. Other plays include Blackademics, This Is Modern Art co-written with Kevin...
Idris Goodwin is a playwright, poet/performer and essayist. His play How We Got On developed at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, premiered in Actors Theatre’s 2012 Humana Festival, and is being produced at theatres across the country. It is the first in his “break beat play” series which includes The REALNESS and Hype Man. Other plays include Blackademics, This Is Modern Art co-written with Kevin Coval, And In This Corner: Cassius Clay, Bars and Measures, and The Raid. Goodwin is one of seven playwrights featured in the widely presented HANDS UP!, an anthology commissioned by The New Black Fest and published by Samuel French. His one act Black Flag was produced Off Broadway in Summer Shorts Festival at 59E59 Theatre. He’s received support from the NEA and Ford Foundation, and awarded Oregon Shakespeare’s American History Cycle Commission, The Blue Ink Playwriting Award and InterAct Theater’s 20/20 Prize. He has work commissioned by or in development with The Public Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor Program, La Jolla Playhouse, The Lark Playwriting Center, The Playwrights's Center and New Harmony Project. These Are The Breaks (Write Bloody, 2011), his debut collection of essays and poetry, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Goodwin’s poetry has featured on HBO, The Discovery Channel, Sesame Street and National Public Radio. Goodwin is an assistant professor in The Department of Theatre and Dance at Colorado College. Find him at www.idrisgoodwin.com

Plays

  • How We Got On
    Hank, Julian, and Luann are three talented, determined suburban teens coming of age in the 1980s. Dreaming of fame and fortune in the new Hip-Hop music scene, they must overcome cultural isolation, familial dysfunction, and ruthless rivalries to make the music that defines their lives. A sultry DJ spins their stories with her own meta-theatrical perspective in this contemporary ode to the roots of rap. http://...
    Hank, Julian, and Luann are three talented, determined suburban teens coming of age in the 1980s. Dreaming of fame and fortune in the new Hip-Hop music scene, they must overcome cultural isolation, familial dysfunction, and ruthless rivalries to make the music that defines their lives. A sultry DJ spins their stories with her own meta-theatrical perspective in this contemporary ode to the roots of rap. http://www.playscripts.com/play/2542
  • AND IN THIS CORNER: CASSIUS CLAY
    A drama about a teenage Muhammad Ali coming up in a racially segregated Louisville KY. Before Islam, draft dodging, before Liston and Fraizer and Zaire, he had to learn the stance, and confront his fears.
  • Bars and Measures
    Commissioned by B Street Theatre, Bars and Measures is the fascinating tale of two brothers. One a classical pianist. The other a jazz bass player. One a Christian. The other a Muslim. One living in freedom. The other in jail. Separated by bars, the brothers try to reconcile their differences through the language they know best. Music. A beautiful journey through faith, family, melody and time.
  • THIS IS MODERN ART
    Co written with Kevin Coval. The crew of LOOK OVER HERE (LOH) is willing to risk anything for their art. Called vandals, criminals, even creative terrorists, these Chicago graffiti artists set out night after night to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. But when the crew finishes the biggest graffiti bomb of their careers, the consequences get serious and spark a public debate...
    Co written with Kevin Coval. The crew of LOOK OVER HERE (LOH) is willing to risk anything for their art. Called vandals, criminals, even creative terrorists, these Chicago graffiti artists set out night after night to make their voices heard and alter the way people view the world. But when the crew finishes the biggest graffiti bomb of their careers, the consequences get serious and spark a public debate asking, where does art belong? This Is Modern Art gives a glimpse into the anonymous lives of graffiti artists and asks us to question the true purpose of art.
  • #matter
    a racially motivated misunderstanding on social media prompts a reunion between two old friends
  • HYPE MAN: a break beat play
    A controversial police shooting causes tensions between an interracial hip hop trio. HYPE MAN is a rhythmically woven drama exploring race, representation, fame and friendship.
  • Blackademics
    Two ravenous female African-American scholars arrive for their coveted dinner reservation at a select café. But what starts as a celebration, quickly takes a raucous turn. Banter turns to debate, and debate into battle as the women figuratively and literally vie for a seat at the table.
  • The REALNESS: a break beat play
    It’s 1996, the hip-hop scene is roaring, and T.O. has arrived in the city, eager to immerse himself in a culture he’s only observed from the safety of the suburbs. He falls hard for Prima, an MC who entrances him with her music and her authenticity. When he lies and schemes to stay in her life, is it in the name of true love or just another part of his obsession with the hip-hop lifestyle?
  • The Blueprint
    A competition between two young writers of color combusts into a series of concentric conflicts over friends, family, fortune, and fame, framed by the tracks of a contemporary playlist.
  • THE RAID
    John Brown is convinced only bloodshed will dismantle American Slavery. After fighting alongside his sons in Kansas, Brown plots to make real his vision: To free and arm black slaves across the south. With Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman conflicted, Brown heads to Harpers Ferry. A tragedy of dissenting heroes, The Raid investigates the line between civic disobedience and civic duty, ultimately asking...
    John Brown is convinced only bloodshed will dismantle American Slavery. After fighting alongside his sons in Kansas, Brown plots to make real his vision: To free and arm black slaves across the south. With Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman conflicted, Brown heads to Harpers Ferry. A tragedy of dissenting heroes, The Raid investigates the line between civic disobedience and civic duty, ultimately asking whether or not there’s such a thing as justifiable violence.
  • Black Flag
    A one act play. Sydney is from Georgia. Deja is from Detroit. These two new dorm-mates cannot wait to start their freshman year together. That is, until Sydney decides to decorate their room with a little piece of "Southern pride." Now, all bets are off. BLACK FLAG is a biting new play about allegiance, censorship and the price of honoring the past.
  • WE WANT THE FUNK: a rustbelt lullabye on the one!
    It’s the early 1970s and the fourth largest auto company in the Midwest just laid off more than half its workers. Chuck is one of them, but he’s not worried. Chuck is convinced that “the funk” will bring prosperity. Only thing, Chuck can’t play no instrument. But somewhere in this sea of the recently unemployed and rejected—those morphine addicted Vietnam vets—those ex militants turned public servants—gear...
    It’s the early 1970s and the fourth largest auto company in the Midwest just laid off more than half its workers. Chuck is one of them, but he’s not worried. Chuck is convinced that “the funk” will bring prosperity. Only thing, Chuck can’t play no instrument. But somewhere in this sea of the recently unemployed and rejected—those morphine addicted Vietnam vets—those ex militants turned public servants—gear heads, burnouts, labor activists, Motown woulda coulda beens, and hustlers—somewhere in all that is Chuck’s band. This psychedelic rhythmic verse drama follows one ordinary man’s pursuit of a new working class frontier.