‘Underground Railroad Game’ At Curious Theatre Embraces Uncomfortable History

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Photo: Underground Railroad Game
Scott Sheppard and Jennifer Kidwell in the "Underground Railroad Game," playing at Curious Theatre Company from June 14 through July 1.

The new production at Curious Theatre Company doesn't shy away from slavery, sex and race. "Underground Railroad Game," which debuted in 2016 in New York at the experimental off-broadway theater Ars Nova, plays in Denver starting Thursday, June 14 through July 1.

Scott Sheppard and Jennifer Kidwell, who wrote and star in the lightning rod play, talked to Colorado Matters about using comedy to tackle some of America's darkest and least-discussed bits of history. The two dramaturges play middle school teachers guiding their students and the audience through the titular game.

Sheppard actually participated in a similar project in the fifth grade at his small town Pennsylvania school, not far from Gettysburg and the Mason-Dixon Line. The whole class was divided into color-coded "Union" or "Confederate" sides, and students had to move dolls representing "slaves" from one safe box to another. Sheppard realized later in life the game's many flaws.