Good Cop, Bad Cop

“Is it possible for a police officer to be a cop and a human being, or are all cops bastards?” asks playwright Benjamin Michael Turk of Insurgent Theater, who stars in the one-man interactive play Behind the Badge. “I play a cop who thinks of himself as a good person. He’s a neighborhood liaison, part of the softer side of policing. I pick an audience member and set up an interrogation scene.” The cop uses the audience member as a sounding board to argue that he is ethical.

Between scenes, the play features group discussions about the function of the police and prisons in the United States. “Sometimes it can become rather freewheeling, with people bringing up topics from personal experience," Turk says. "Other times, it’s, ‘Hey, what do we know about prison? What do we know about torture? What do we know about the different reforms going on?’”

Tonight’s program, which opens with a spoken-word performance by Jeffrey Campbell, is a collaboration with Communities United Against Mass Incarceration, a prison-abolition organization. The performance commemorates the three-year anniversary of the death of Alonzo Ashley, who was visiting the Denver Zoo when he was killed during a fight with Denver police. The free show starts tonight at 6 p.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street. For more information, go to Read our Q&A with Benjamin Michael Turk at
Fri., July 18, 6 p.m., 2014

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris