When is behavior so egregious that violence is a justifiable response?
That’s one of the pressing questions in “Nat Turner in Jerusalem,” a new play by Nathan Alan Davis that workshopped at the New Theatre Workshop in New York City and is about to have its second production at The Forum Theatre.
The charismatic leader of an insurrection of slaves and free blacks in 1831 Virginia, Turner was highly intelligent and educated, with a strong sense of conviction in the rightness of his cause and the belief God spoke to him in visions.
Some 55 whites died during the revolt, which he viewed as just, because of the evils of slavery.
In the play Turner sits in jail, 12 hours before his execution. He debates his actions and their repercussions with Thomas Gray, the local attorney who had earlier published Turner’s recollections.