Free Play Project

The Playbill for SDSU’s Production of Idris Goodwin’s FREE PLAY PROJECT

Questions Answered

Below you will find questions asked by the directors and company of each play from the Free Play Project. You will also find, if I’ve done my job correctly, answers. Some answers are quite heavy and may posses the ability to trigger. What I mean by saying this is to read below, but do so with caution. In almost every answer are links to sources that will take you deeper down the rabbit hole. If you’re insane like me, you will click on them and brace for the plunge. However, I have also included enough information from all of the sources within my answers so that normal individuals may learn and enjoy in the daylight. As you dive in, bring some questions of your own. And when you are finished with this page, try to take some new questions with you. Perhaps, with them, you can do some digging of your own. Or not. Unanswered questions are always a great way to start conversation.

~ Dramaturg: Imahni King-Murillo

Water Gun Song

  • “Were there any police brutality cases in LatinX/Black communities? Were those cases here in California?”
    • Unfortunately, detailed documented cases of police brutality go back to the1910’s with a very notable instance occurring in January of 1918 when a group of Texas Rangers and U.S. Army stormed into Porvenir, Texas, shooting and killing 15 Latinx Men and Boys. However, I will skip ahead to the 1990’s. In 1991, four LAPD officers beat African-American Rodney King with billy clubs. After review of the video, officials reported Rodney was hit anywhere between 53 and 56 times by the officers. After an unsatisfactory verdict ending with the officers being “disciplined”, the historical 1992 LA riots began. These riots lasted for 6 days and ended with 63 civilians dead and over 2,000 injured. The riots only ended when the California National Guard and the U.S. Army interfered. There are countless more instances of police brutality to pick from. Though African-Americans only make up for 13% of the U.S. population, African-Americans also count for 24% of death by police shooting. In fact, as reported by, Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police over their life span than white men.
  • “What type of gangs groups were in the 90s?”
    • Types of gangs that existed in the 90’s consisted of national/local street gangs and organized crime gangs including groups with a presence in California such as:
      • Bloods – national street gang (15,000 – 20,000 members)
      • Crips – national street gang (30,000 – 35,000 members)
      • Yakuza – organized crime gang (25,900 members)
      • Sons of Samoa – local street gang (200 members)

Act Free

  • “When did Juneteenth become official and how long was that duration between emancipation and Juneteenth?”
    • As stated by, “Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war”. Further according to, the proclamation stated that “all persons held as slaves are, and henceforward shall be free”. However, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that, according to, 250,000 slaves being held despite the proclamation were freed by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops. Even so, many slaves were not freed right away. In fact, further according to, many slave owners waited until a full harvest was complete, while others “refused to submit” until an official came to them in person. Many non-rebellious Texans began to celebrate the arrival of Granger in Galveston and the freedom of the remaining slaves beginning in 1866. They celebrated with “community-centric events, such as parades, cookouts, prayer gatherings, historical and cultural readings, and musical performances”, as stated on the Congressional Research Service “Juneteenth: Fact Sheet” website, Furthermore, “Some communities purchased land for Juneteenth celebrations, such as Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas. As families emigrated from Texas to other parts of the United States, they carried Juneteenth celebrations with them”. However, it wasn’t until January 1, 1980, 115 years after Granger arrived in Galveston, that Juneteenth became an official Texas state holiday. Since then, many other states have followed Texas’ lead and began to celebrate the day. On June 17, 2021, 156 years after Granger arrived in Galveston and 158 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, “Juneteenth officially became the 11th federal holiday”, according to, “[and is] the first holiday to be added to the list of federal holidays since the recognition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday in 1983”.
  • “What was the average life span of slaves during this time?”
    • According to, “As a result of this high infant and childhood death rate, the average life expectancy of a slave at birth was just 21 or 22 years, compared to 40 to 43 years for antebellum whites”. The primary causes of death were products of chronic undernourishment.
  • “Was is common for slaves to be sold off to new owners?”
    • With the invention of the steam boat in 1811, slave owners in the U.S. gained the ability to and from markets along the Mississippi River. With further technological advancement, the introduction of the steam locomotive, and the development of extensive railways, Domestic slave trade was at it’s peak in the 1840’s – 1850’s. According to, “Slave traders accumulated substantial wealth by purchasing slaves in the Upper South and transporting them to the Lower South. It is estimated that more than half of all slaves in the Upper South were separated from a parent or child, and a third of their marriages were destroyed by forced migration”. An especially haunting quote pulled from reads as follows,

To be “sold down the river” 

was one of the most dreaded prospects of the enslaved population.

  • “Was it common for slave owners to check up on slaves in the slave quarters? Or did they only stay in the “master’s” quarters?/[What was the] typical plantation power structure?
    • In agreement with, most plantations were owned by absentee owners. Most slave owners owned 50 or fewer slaves and often did not even live on the plantation. However, there were individuals who managed plantations (slave masters). Their duty’s included keeping track of slave labors, inventory, and other necessary plantation management tasks. I could not find information on whether or not slave masters visited slave quarters directly. However, an interesting bit of information I found actually surrounds the dynamics of house servants and slave master families. This quote was extracted from

“…house servants and their owners tended to form more complex relationships. Black and white children were especially in a position to form bonds with each other. In most situations, young children of both races played together on farms and plantations. Black children might also become attached to white caretakers, such as the mistress, and white children to their black nannies. Because they were so young, they would have no understanding of the system they were born into. But as they grew older they would learn to adjust to it in whatever ways they could.”

  • “What is the terrain like in Galveston, Texas? Was there a lot of quicksand?”
The red segment is Galveston, Texas

According to, Galveston is a mostly flat, partly island, and partly coastal area. It borders on the Gulf of Mexico. Within Galveston County, there is a 30 mile long sand barrier island separating West Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. As stated in, it is known as ‘Galveston Island’ and “lies at the eastern end of a nearly continuous chain of barrier islands that extends more than 600 miles along the Texas and Mexican coasts”. As for quicksand, I was unable to attain any information regarding the presence of quicksand in Galveston, Texas.

Nothing Rhymes with Juneteenth

  • “Why was the news so delayed in letting people know they were free?”
    • To clarify, the slave owners knew. The news was “delayed” in getting to the slaves because rebellious slave owners were refusing “to submit” and many waited until entire harvests were completed before freeing their slaves. Furthermore, it was not until officials from Maj. Gen. Granger’s troops personally came onto the doorsteps of these slave owners homes, that many of the slaves were freed.The delay was caused by slave owners withholding information.
  • “How do people tend to celebrate Juneteenth?”
    • Like any other holiday, there are many ways in which people celebrate. However, also like any other holidays, there are historical traditions that symbolically represent the meaning of the holiday. For example, on Juneteenth, traditionally, red foods are eaten (red velvet cake, strawberry soda, watermelon, red barbecued meats, etc.) and red clothes are worn. TriState Expo Spokesperson Leah McKay stated, “Red stands for of course the blood that was shed on the pathway to freedom”. According to, “[Juneteenth] celebrations traditionally include picnics, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, blues festivals, and Miss Juneteenth contests”.
  • “Do schools typically tend to teach about Juneteenth? Is it a part of San Diego’s k-12 curriculum?
    • I, personally, as a San Diego native, did not learn about Juneteenth until after high school. Along with this, as stated by and, Juneteenth and the majority of Black history other than Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglas, and the Civil Rights Movement are not taught in schools because they are not “feel-good stories”. In fact, recently, 5 states have made the instruction of critical race theory and historical structural racism illegal or optional. This makes it far more difficult for Americans to learn about Juneteenth and generates a general misunderstanding surrounding the severity of slavery and racism.
  • “Can you possibly find an image of how one of the soldiers marching to deliver news, outfits may have looked?
  • “What are the statistics for single black fathers in the US? Single Black mothers? Stay at home fathers in general across the US?
    • As states, as of 2011 (this is the most recent and academically reliable study I could find), Black men make up for 15% of single fathers while Black women make up for 28% of single mothers. Further according to, the number of stay at home dads increased “from 4% in 1989 to 7% in 2016. As a result, dads made up 17% of all stay-at-home parents in 2016”.


  • “Ordinary matter?”
    • The word “matter” actually contains many definitions. All of the definitions below are provided by and are listed in order of relevance. Some definitions may be followed by personal observations tying the definition to the play:
      • “the substance of which a physical object is composed”
        • By the logic of this definition, that would mean that “ordinary matter” is an opinionated term. Matter is anything and everything, therefore there is no “ordinary” or “strange” versions of it. It simply is. To hold the value of one object’s matter higher than another is justified by nothing other than preference.
      • “material substance that occupies space, has mass, and is composed predominantly of atoms consisting of protons, neutrons, and electrons, that constitutes the observable universe, and that is interconvertible with energy”
        • Good ole’ science
      • “a subject under consideration”
        • Meta-science/food for thought
      • “a subject of disagreement or litigation”
      • matters plural : the events or circumstances of a particular situation”
      • “something to be proved in law”
  • “What happens to matter split?”
    • Well, matter can be neither created or destroyed, so when matter is split, really all that is happening is the rearranging of atoms. However, what happens if an atom is split?  Well, since atoms are matter, they still cannot be destroyed, however, the splitting of nuclei releases a huge amount of energy, which is called a “fission”. Where is starts to get especially dicey is when, according to, “[the] fission process becomes self-sustaining as neutrons produced by the splitting of [an] atom strike nearby nuclei and produce more fission. This is known as a chain reaction and is what causes an atomic explosion”. So, what happens to matter split? I suppose if you cut deep enough, it explodes.
  • “Semantics”
    • According to, semantics is “the historical and psychological study and the classification of changes in the signification of words or forms viewed as factors in linguistic development”.
  • “Antimatter”
    • As stated in, “Antimatter is the opposite of normal matter. More specifically, the sub-atomic particles of antimatter have properties opposite those of normal matter. The electrical charge of those particles is reversed. Antimatter was created along with matter after the Big Bang, but antimatter is rare in today’s universe, and scientists aren’t sure why”.
  • “Antiparticles”
    • According to, “In the heart of an atom, called the nucleus, are protons (which have a positive electrical charge) and neutrons (which have a neutral charge). Electrons, which generally have a negative charge, occupy orbits around the nucleus. The orbits can change depending on how “excited” the electrons are (meaning how much energy they have). In the case of antimatter, the electrical charge is reversed relative to matter, according to NASA. Anti-electrons (called positrons) behave like electrons but have a positive charge. Antiprotons, as the name implies, are protons with a negative charge”. These are antimatter particles, or, “antiparticles”.
  • “Boko Haram”
    • Boko Haram is an Islamic Terrorist group located in Northestern Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and northern Cameroon who’s primary objectives, according to, are “establishment of an Islamic State under Shariah law in Nigeria” and “the wider imposition of Islamic rule beyond Nigeria”.

Black Flag

  • “Are there any cases in which Confederate Flags have been lawfully removed from public or private spaces?”
    • Yes! However, before I present some examples of occurrences, you will need the context of the inciting incident that caused the ripple effect of confederate flag removal. On June 17th of 2015, 21 year-old Dylann Roof entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church with a handgun and fired shots killing nine African Americans and injuring three. The Church is one of the oldest Black Churches in America and also operates as a center of organization for events regarding civil rights. Dylann had chosen the Church due to its historical importance to the African American community. Later, during the manhunt for Dylann, a website created by Dylann was found which consisted of his manifesto (Please read with caution! Since the incident, his site has been taken down, however, this is the most trustworthy source I could find as it is not anywhere else on the internet. It is extremely triggering.) as well as images of him alongside confederate flags. Though the flag was never officially adopted by the confederacy, “The appropriation of the Confederate flag by white supremacist organizations, such as the Ku Klux Klan, makes the debate over it particularly emotional”, says author Sara L. Zeigler on (where more history on the confederate flag can be read). The images of this white supremacist mass murderer next to the flag essentially sealed its fate. After Dylann was caught and sentenced to death on nine counts of 1st degree murder, states and businesses nationwide began to renegotiate their relationship with the symbol. Here are a few examples of what happened next:
      • Quoted from, on July 9th of 2015, “South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Thursday signed into law a measure to remove the contentious Confederate battle flag from the state Capitol, the culmination of a years-long movement that was reignited by the murders of nine members of a historically black church in Charleston”.
      • Quoted from, on June 29th of 2020, “The Mississippi state legislature voted on Sunday to replace its state flag, the last in the nation to display the Confederate battle emblem”.
      • Quoted from, on July 17th of 2020, “The Confederate flag can no longer be flown on US military properties after the Pentagon issued a new policy to reject displays of ‘divisive symbols’”.
  • “Are there any specific cases in which Confederate flags have been banned, and or permitted, on school campuses?”
    • No publicly specific cases. However, Howard County School District in Howard County, Maryland banned “confederate flags, swastikas, and other hate symbols” from appearing on campuses, aligning the new policy with their pre-existing bullying policy. Other than that, I mostly found that schools, although pushback may be received, reserve the right to ban confederate flags from their campuses as the history behind them causes them to be intimidating to students and distracts them from their learning environment. 
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