Returning by Popular Demand

The “Most Socially Significant Local Play” of 2016
The Cleveland Critics Circle

A Community Response to the Shooting of Tamir Rice, 11/22/14

by Playwrights Local
Directed by Terrence Spivey
Conceived and edited by David Todd

Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 pm
Sunday at 2:30 pm
February 17 – March 11, 2017

Creative Space at Waterloo Arts
397 E. 156th Street
Cleveland, OH 44110

With special post-show discussions:

Friday, February 17: Hosted by Mansfield Frazier
Sunday, February 19: Hosted by Ayesha Bell Hardaway
Sunday, February 26: Hosted by Daniel Gray-Kontar
Sunday, March 5: Hosted by Kwanza Brewer
Friday, March 10: Hosted by A. Harris Brown


For group sales or other ticket information, call (216) 302-8856.

Press for the Return Engagement

“This is a well-deserved ‘revival’, since it is a powerful and resonant piece of theater…See it. Absorb it. Be changed by it.”

“The powerful [original] performances were virtually sold out, so the company is re-staging it. If you did not see it the first time, you need to see it now.”
Cool Cleveland (Anastasia Pantsios)

“This work is raw; it serves it up straight, no chaser; it takes no prisoners; minces no words; spares no feelings…Everyone who missed this play the first time around should make a real effort to get off their lazy asses and go see it this time.”
Cool Cleveland (Mansfield Frazier)

Complete Press Coverage

“A 90-minute work that is electric, probing and uncomfortably raw…deeply moving…It discusses and dissects and sets the notion of ‘a post-racial society’ on fire. This is a play that needs to be seen.”
The Plain Dealer

“A must-see experience for anyone interested in the real world around them.”
Broadway World

“The window that has opened for all to view the inequity of law enforcement activity in the less advantaged Cleveland neighborhoods. It is a show that begs to be seen by police officers and citizens alike.”
Talkin’ Broadway

“If you miss Objectively/Reasonable, you will miss one hell of an evocative, engaging, and empowering evening in the theatre…This powerful production needs to be revived again and again.”
Land of Cleve

“These slice-of-life monologues come in varying shades of anger and disillusionment that do not shy away from ardent social commentary…they pulsate with purpose and artistic integrity.”
Cleveland Jewish News

Publicity Images (Credit: Tom Kondilas)

Playwrights Local proudly announces the return of Objectively/Reasonable, the critically acclaimed documentary play that premiered to sold-out houses in August 2016. Presented as a community response to the 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice, this powerful new work is based on original interviews with legal experts, social critics, police officers, parents, and other Greater Clevelanders. Featuring contributions from an ensemble of writers—Mike Geither, Tom Hayes, Lisa Langford, Michael Oatman, and David Todd—the play considers the impact and aftermath of this tragedy as captured through a diverse set of unheard voices. Objectively/Reasonable was conceived and edited by David Todd and is directed by Terrence Spivey, former artistic director of Karamu House.

Run Time: Approximately 90 minutes, without intermission


Mike Geither is a playwright and solo performer whose works have been staged in San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, New York, and London. He is a four-time Ohio Arts Council fellow and has served as a resident artist at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito. Recent works include Creation Myth (Convergence Continuum), how small, how far away (Zuppa Theatre, Halifax), Flame Puppy (Playwrights Local), Tear It Off (convergence-continuum), and Loki and Lucy (Talespinner). He is currently an Associate Professor of English at Cleveland State University where he teaches in the Northeast Ohio MFA in creative writing.

Tom Hayes is an award-winning playwright who received his MFA from Cleveland State University and the Northeast Ohio Masters of Fine Arts (NEOMFA) program. His play Lord of the Burgeoning Lumber was staged at convergence-continuum and was awarded Best Original Script by a Local Playwright — 2008 by Rave and Pan. Tom’s play Patterns was staged at Cleveland Public Theatre in 2011. Other plays have appeared at the Manhattan Project and Playwrights Local.

Lisa Langford recently received her M.F.A. in creative writing. Several of her plays have been seen locally, including InCogNegro, The Bomb, and The Split Show.

Michael Oatman is the Playwright-In-Residence at Karamu Theater, the oldest African American theater in the country. He is only the second person to hold this honor in the storied history of Karamu; the first being Langston Hughes. In 2011, he won the CPAC Workforce Fellowship; he also won the Cleveland Arts Prize in 2010 for Best Emerging Artist and the 2010 Lantern Award for Best Play. In 2011, three of his full-length plays were produced: Breaking the Chains, You Got Nerve, and Sometime Hope Is Enough. In 2010, seven of his plays were produced in various venues: Black Nativity (Adaption), War Paint, Eclipse: The War Between Pac and B.I.G., Course of Action, My Africa, A Solitary Voice, Not a Uterus in Sight, Hitler and Gandhi. He earned an English Degree from Cleveland State University in 2004 and completed his MFA in theater from the Northeastern Ohio Master of Fine Arts Consortium in 2008.

David Todd’s plays have been presented or developed in NYC at theaters including 59E59, Dixon Place, the Little Theater, HERE, and NY Theatre Workshop, regionally in DC, Portland, and Chicago, and internationally at the LaMaMa Spoleto Open in Italy. His playwriting residencies include Hangar Theater (Ithaca, NY), Classic Studio (NYC), and Chicago Dramatists. He earned his MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU (Goldberg Award; Harry Kondoleon Award) and his PhD at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As a faculty member, he has taught writing, literature, and film at NYU, SUNY Stony Brook, and Otterbein University, and is currently teaching at Cleveland State University. He is a Usual Suspect at NY Theater Workshop and a collaborator with the NYC-based Monk Parrots. His nonfiction book Feeding Back was published in 2012 by Chicago Review Press, and his play Joy in Repetition was published in January 2014 by Connotation Press. He is the Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild, and he was awarded an Individual Excellence Award by the Ohio Arts Council for 2016.


Terrence Spivey is a native Texan with a B.A. in Theatre from Prairie View A&M University. His was Artistic Director of Karamu House for over twelve years. During his artistic administration, Spivey programmed over seventy productions and directed over twenty five, winning numerous awards for the historical institution. Among his directed works were Permanent Collection, for colored girls..., Cut Flowers, The Color Purple, Joe Turners’s Come and Gone, God’s Trombones,The Blacks, and The Wiz, just to name a few. During his stay, Karamu collaborated with numerous theaters and festivals throughout Northeast Ohio. He served as Director in Residence for Kent State Pan African Studies during the 2013-2014 season. Spivey has appeared in Black Mask, Back Stage, Ebony, Artist and Influences, and American Theatre. He served as board member for Community Partnership for Arts and Culture and the Cleveland Arts Prize, and currently serves on the national AUDELCO. He is a member of Black Theatre Network and an elected member of National Theatre Conference. In 2011, he was given a proclamation by the Mayor and the City of Cleveland for his artistic contributions and, under his leadership, Karamu was honored with the 2013 AUDELCO Award for Repertory Company of the Year in New York City. As freelance director, he directed one of The Plain Dealer‘s Top 10 plays of 2016, Bootycandy, at convergence-continuum, the world premiere of Peter Lawson Jones’ The Bloodless Jungle at Ensemble Theatre, and Kia Corthron’s Breathe, Boom at John Carroll University. His most recent production is August Wilson’s Radio Golf, running through February 26th at Ensemble Theatre. His next project is Neighbors by Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon) at convergence-continuum (July 7 – 26).


Samone Cummings: Let me introduce myself. My name is Samone Leslie Cummings. I’m 10 years old. I’m in the 6th grade at Dike School of the Arts. I believe we all have a purpose and no one’s purpose is greater than another. I feel I was brought here to make a positive impact on the world, through the arts. A scripture I always tell myself: “God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”

Kali Hatten is a ninth grade theatre major at the Cleveland School of the Arts. He is very excited to participate in A Community Response to the Shooting of Tamir Rice. Kali most recently performed in the Madame C.J. Walker Extravaganza, the Kuumba Arts festival, A New Day in Hough, and God’s Trombones under the direction of Prester Pickett. Kali’s other notable performances at Karamu House include: Leap of Faith, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and Xanadu. He also performed in productions at the Cleveland School of the Arts including Home on the Morning Train, under the direction of Dr. Scott Miller, and Crying out for You, under the direction of Jonathan Jackson. Kali dedicates this performance to his loving family and his church family of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. He would like to share Numbers 6:24-26 with everyone: “The Lord Bless Thee and Keep Thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee, The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace.”

Christina Johnson is a Cleveland-born singer, songwriter, and poet. As a performer for many years, the arts have become more than just performance for her, but a catalyst for learning, peace, and balance. The love of arts keep her connected on the stage, as well as working behind the scenes of productions. Recently performances include Black Nativity, What If, Crystal Clear, The Wiz, The Color Purple, Crowns, My Brother’s Keeper, and Sister Act, to name a few. She is so excited to be a part of this cast and movement to cause awareness for the urgency for much-needed change.

LaShawn Little has had the passion and gift to act since the age of twelve. He is a graduate of the acclaimed Cleveland School of Performing Arts where he studied theater and creative writing. He was the second recipient of the Alex Haley/Florence Kelley Scholarship at the Cleveland Playhouse. LaShawn continued his education at Wilberforce University where he studied theater and mass media communications. LaShawn has been in several mainstage productions including Karamu Theater productions Ceremonies Of Dark Men and The Return of Superman. He has also worked on the Dobama Theater productions Civil War Christmas and Superior Doughnuts. LaShawn has also been chosen as featured extras with the Lilian Pyle casting company for the John Travolta motion picture Criminal Activity and the Lifetime movie With This Ring. LaShawn is also writer and co-producer/owner of I Was Rollin Productions LLC.

Joshua McElroy is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art. He aspires to be an actor, entertainer and a comedian. He has multiple talents other than being an artist: he’s a musician, and for several years he was the leader of the Shaker Heights Improv Team, as well as a member of the Case Western Reserve University’s IMPROVment. Josh has been in a number of plays at The Karamu House, such as The Color Purple, The Wiz, God’s Trombones, and recently Sister Act. Joshua is currently performing Wednesday nights at the Hilarities 4th Street Theater. Josh is also currently in the plays Harriet, As Long As We Both Shall Live, and Tell Hell I Ain’t Coming. Joshua plans to study at Second City, then travel to New York City in the future and pursue his dreams of becoming a Blockbuster entertainer as well as a very influential actor.

Mary-Francis Renee Miller is an actor, singer, and musician from South Euclid, Ohio. She attended Cleveland State University and received her training from Holly Holsinger at the CSU Department of Theatre and Dance from 2010-2013. She was also a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus from 2013-2016. Mary-Francis’ theatre credits include the regional premiere of Margin of Error as Daphne Anderson, the Ohio premiere of In Red and Brown Water as Oya, The Crucible opera as Tituba and The Tempest as Ariel. She has received two Irene Ryan nominations during her undergrad at Cleveland State. Mary-Francis’ future obligations include singing on tour in France and Switzerland with the Wright Family Singers this coming spring and singing backup for Sergio Mendes Brasil 66 in Brazil this coming summer.

Phillia: I enjoy all aspects of art. Art has a way of expressing oneself authentically which inspires knee-jerk reaction. That’s why I have participated in all aspects of the artistic scene in Cleveland since the age of three. By the grace of God, I have been blessed to perform at Karamu House, the Cleveland Playhouse, Tri-C, Dobama Theatre, East Cleveland Theater, and many more. I have also starred in films that have been screened in theaters from Cleveland to Pittsburgh, to California. Some of my most recent movies include Swing Lowe Sweet Chariote, Used to BE, The Crimson House, and Seven Minutes. When I am not performing, I am teaching and learning all I can about the arts. During the summer of 2015, I had the pleasure of teaching theater for Karamu’s cultural arts camp and assisting Richard Morris in directing their production of Beauty and the Beast. Follow me on Facebook @Cleveland urban actor Phillia. Godbless.

Corin B. Self, a native of Cleveland, has been a lover of the performing arts from a very young age. After studying Theater Arts at Morgan State University in Baltimore, he has been in many performances, ranging from musicals Ragtime, Dreamgirls, and The Fantasticks, to straight plays such as Miss Evers’ Boys and Athol Fugard’s Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act. He has also has starred in a short film project for American University’s School of Film & Media, 2nd Shift, by Mikal K. Odom. His love for performing does not stop there; he has also done voiceover work for Morgan State University’s Fine Arts Center as well as Radio One Baltimore and Clear Channel. He is very happy to be a part of this wonderful piece of work. “It would be very remiss of me to not leave it all on the stage after EVERY performance!!! Thank you Mr. Spivey for affording me that opportunity.”

Nathan Tolliver is an actor/singer from Cleveland, Ohio. This is his first production with Playwrights local. His past credits include The Wild Party, Slow Dance on the Killing Ground, Dreamgirls, Aida, The Wiz, and Black Nativity. Nathan is honored to be working with such talent on this protest piece, continuing this important conversation about injustice and police brutality.


Stage Manager: Geraldine Harris

Assistant Director: Nathan Tolliver

Lighting Designer: Margaret Peebles

Set Designer: Terrence Spivey

Sound Designer: David Todd

Board Operator: Ludie Cummings

Carpenter: Tom Hayes

Electrician: Cory Molner


Funding for this production was provided in part by:

The Chandra Law Firm, LLC


Funding for an outreach video and study guide related to this production is provided by:

The City of Cleveland Cable Television Minority Arts & Education Fund of the Cleveland Foundation


Funding for the premiere production of this play was provided in the form of an ArtSTART grant from:


Funding for Playwrights Local is provided by:


Creative Space at Waterloo Arts
397 E. 156th Street, Cleveland, OH 44110

Street parking on Waterloo and surrounding roads
Public lots as pictured on Waterloo Arts District Map