World Premiere

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

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

August 18 – September 4, 2016
Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 pm & Sunday at 2:30 pm

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

With special post-show discussions:
August 18: Hosted by Peter Lawson Jones
August 19: Hosted by A. Harris Brown
August 21: Hosted by Ronnie A. Dunn, Ph.D.
August 28: Hosted by Mansfield Frazier
September 4: Hosted by Tammy Tucker

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 (Conceiver/Editor): 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.


Ashley Aquilla

Kaila Benford

India Burton

Samone Cummings

Ananias Dixon

Kali Hatten


LaShawn Little 

Brenton Lyles

Nathan Tolliver


Ludie Cummings……….Board Operator

Tom Hayes……….Carpenter

Maya Jones……….Assistant Director/Stage Manager

Stephanie Kahn……….Master Electrician

Margaret Peebles……….Lighting Designer

Greg Smith……….Carpenter

Terrence Spivey……….Set Designer

David Todd……..Sound Designer


Program [PDF]

Publicity Images (Credit: Tom Kondilas)


Best Director: Terrence Spivey
Scene Magazine, May 2018

Top Plays of 2016
Land of Cleve, 30 December 2016

Outstanding Non-Musical Productions / Outstanding Performance by a Female: Ashley Aquilla
Broadway World-Cleveland, 20 December 2016

Most Socially Significant Local Play of 2016
The Cleveland Critics Circle, 19 December 2016


“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 Dealer20 August 2016

“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, 21 August 2016

“A must-see experience for anyone interested in the real world around them.”
Broadway World, 22 August 2016 [Reprinted in Scene Magazine, 24 August 2016]

“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, 22 August 2016

“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, 3 September 2016

“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, 19 August 2016


Finding Power in Their Words: A Response to Tamir Rice’s Killing, as Told by Those Who Felt it Most
The Plain Dealer, 21 August 2016
[Complete photo gallery at Cleveland.com]

Voices of the Invisible: Young Students Bring their Own Words to Tamir Rice Tragedy
The Plain Dealer, 26 June 2016
[Complete photo gallery at Cleveland.com]

Play About Tamir Rice Shooting Makes World Premiere Tonight [Preview]
The Plain Dealer, 18 August 2016


Community Catharsis: Exploring the Tamir Rice Shooting 2 Years Later
American Theatre, 19 August 2016

Seeking Dialogue and Change: Objectively/Reasonable Explores the Shooting of Tamir Rice
HowlRound, 4 November 2016

Miss You [Fall Arts Preview: Theater]
Cleveland Magazine, September 2016

“Kaleidoscope” with Leon Bibb: (Interview with Terrence Spivey and David Todd)
WEWS Channel 5, 31 July 2016

Objectively/Reasonable Gives Community a Voice
Cleveland Performing Arts Writer, 29 July 2016

Playwrights Local to Tackle Controversy Surrounding Tamir Rice Case
AXS Cleveland, 12 July 2016

Objectively/Reasonable (Interview with Terrence Spivey and Tom Hayes)
The Sound of Applause [WCPN], 17 August 2016


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