World Premiere

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
August 18 – September 4
Creative Space at Waterloo Arts

With special post-show discussions:
Thursday, August 18: Hosted by Peter Lawson Jones [Reception to follow]
Friday, August 19: Hosted by A. Harris Brown
Sunday, August 21: Hosted by Ronnie A. Dunn, Ph.D.
Sunday, August 28: Hosted by Mansfield Frazier [Reception to follow at adjoining Waterloo Arts Gallery]
Sunday, September 4: Hosted by Tammy Tucker

“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

“This is a work that should travel to theaters all over the country; it needs to be seen and heard by everyone who sincerely wants police brutality to cease in America…A catharsis.”
— Cool Cleveland

“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

Complete Press Coverage

Complete Publicity Images (Credit: Tom Kondilas)


Objectively-Reasonable [Updated]

A documentary play on the impact and aftermath of the Tamir Rice shooting, expressing unheard voices from the Cudell neighborhood and Greater Cleveland. This new work lets the people speak, with their fears, reservations, and hopes fueling monologues drawn from original interviews. Created by an ensemble of playwrights—Mike Geither, Tom Hayes, Lisa Langford, Michael Oatman, and David Todd—Objectively/Reasonable features direction 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-continnum 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 and the Cleveland Art 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 at Prairie View A&M University. His was Artistic Director of Karamu House for over twelve years. During his artistic administration, Spivey programmed over seventy plus productions and directed over twenty five and winning numerous awards for the historical institution. During his stay, Karamu collaborated with numerous theatres 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, 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 the 2013 AUDELCO Award for Repertory Company of the Year in New York City. His most most recent works were the critically acclaimed Bootycandy at convergence-continuum and his adaptations of God’s Trombones at Karamu in Spring 2016. His upcoming projects will be the world premiere of Peter Lawson Jones The Bloodless Jungle at Ensemble Theatre in September and the Regional premiere of Kia Corthron’s female gang related Breathe, Boom at John Carroll University in November.


ashAshley Aquilla (“It Has an Impact”; “A Cleveland Filter” [A]; “A Figure Now”) This performance and bio are dedicated to my brother Bryant ‘Stevie’ Henderson. Stevie died unjustly and untimely in police custody on July 21, 1998 at the age of 25. He was father of two, son, brother, and friend to many. Stevie was flawed, but he was beautiful and his life mattered. In a way Objectively/Reasonable is telling my brother’s story and the story of countless others that have died because of hatred and cruelty. My dear brother Stevie, I give you my body and my voice so you may be seen and heard. I love you, and you are not forgotten.

kbKaila Benford (“A Feel-Good Project”; “It’s Really Interesting”; “The Black Body”) Kaila Benford was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio where she attended the Cleveland school of the arts high school as a theater major. She then graduated and went to Ohio University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater performance. There she was active in multiple student produced shows, produce her own show and was cast in Ohio University’s As you Like it”  (Madame Le Beu). Kaila believes strongly in the power of the arts to heal our community, our heart and our mind. She would like to thank her family, friends/fellow co artist and her girlfriend for their support and love.

indiIndia Burton (“A Cleveland Filter” [B]; “I’m Gone”): For the African American men and women who have lost their lives due to racial injustices and senseless acts of inhumane violence:  “Time will prove the connection between the level of the lives we lead and the extraordinary endeavor to avoid black men. It shows in our public life.” –James Baldwin; “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” –James Baldwin; “Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity” –James Baldwin

IMG_8985Samone Cummings (“Those are My Feelings”): 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.

anaAnanias Dixon (“Complicity”; “Us Against Them”): I did this for Tamir.




20160813_103939Kali Hatten (“A Lesson for Children”) 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 Tamir Rice Shooting.” 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 the 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 dedicated 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.

JamekaTerri (1)JamekaTerri (“We Own That”; “A Feel-Good Project”; “The Community Response”): “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”–Oscar Wilde

ab7d87b8-eca4-4346-9b9e-6303045f6858LaShawn Little (“That One Time”; “The Loss of a Child”) 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 main stage 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 film “Criminal Activity” and Lifetime movie “With This Ring”. LaShawn is also writer and co-producer/owner of I Was Rollin Productions LLC.

blBrenton Lyles (“A Peaceful Place”; “Neighborhood Watch” [Subject]”) was born and raised right here in Cleveland, Ohio. He made his acting debut in 2010 alongside Fred Anthony Taylor in the stage play Ultimus Venificus: The Last of the Sorcerers. In 2011, he again worked with Taylor in The Vagabond at the Cleveland Playhouse Theater. In 2011 Lyles also got the opportunity to walk for local designers for Cleveland Fashion Week Spring 2011. It wasn’t until 2015 after a brief hiatus that he resumed acting with his first speaking role in the stage play Starve The Devil, written by Michael Oatman and directed by Stacey Malone. “It is an Artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.” – Nina Simone

ntNathan Tolliver (“Crabs in a Bucket”; “Do a Cleveland on Me”; “Neighborhood Watch” [Interviewer]) 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.


Assistant Director/Stage Manager/Costume Designer: Maya Jones

Lighting Designer: Margaret Peebles

Set Designer: Terrence Spivey

Sound Designer: David Todd

Board Operator: Ludie Cummings

Carpenters: Tom Hayes; Greg Smith; Henry Rosebrock Hayes; Kirsten Rosebrock Hayes

Master Electrician: Stephanie Kahn


Funding for this production is provided in the form of an ArtSTART grant from:


Funding for Playwrights Local is provided by:

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