Playwrights Local attempts to make sense out of a senseless Cleveland tragedy.
Playwrights Local attempts to make sense out of a senseless Cleveland tragedy.
Playwrights Local 4181 (Used With Their Permission)

On the evening of Nov. 22, 2014 police responded to a police dispatch call that a “male black was in the act of pointing a 'pistol' at people at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland.” The collective sum of misinformation, bad decision making, and possible lack of proper training resulted in the death of 12 year old Tamir Rice. A year and a half later, the controversy still swirls around this evening of avoidable tragedy.

As part of their commitment to bring the works of local playwrights producing works of current social relevance, Playwrights Local has announced the world premiere of Objectively/Reasonable: A Community Response to the Shooting of Tamir Rice, 11/22/14. The work will be directed by Terrence Spivey with Maya Jones serving as Assistant Director and Stage Manager. The other members of the creative team include Margaret Peebles (Lighting Design), Anthony Brown (Projection Design), Malikah Johnson Spivey (Costume Design) and Howard Dillard II (Sound Design).

Objectively/Reasonable attempts to address the continuing aftermath of the Tamir Rice shooting through the seeking out of the unheard voices of the Cudell neighborhood of Greater Cleveland. Through a series of interviews with legal experts, social critics and neighbors a collection of original monologues has been assembled by an ensemble of local playwrights that include Mike Geither, Tom Hayes, Lisa Langford, Michael Oatman, David Todd, and Mary E. Weems, Ph.D. The original concept and arrangement was compiled by David Todd who serves as the Artistic Director of Playwrights Local.

“We wanted to address this issue in a way that felt appropriate and respectful,” Todd said during a recent interview. “We tried to represent the perspectives of people who were still struggling with this case and with the issues underlying it.” Langford emphasizes the importance of providing an outlet for speakers who were being ignored, saying, “People want to talk about what happened; they just don’t always know how. At the very least, the people I interviewed got to speak their minds.”

People familiar with the Cleveland theater scene will recognize the name of Terrence Spivey for his work as former artistic director of Karamu House whose approach to the work is to combine “stylized mix of agitprop movement and multimedia woven between the written monologues about Tamir taken from the voice of the community.”

Cast members of Objectively/Reasonable include veterans Ashley Aquilla, India Burton, Ananias Dixon, Jameka Terri, Lashawn Little, Brenton Lyles, and Nathan Tolliver who will be joined by two young actors Kali Hatten and ten year old Samone Cummings.

Objectively/Reasonable will run from August 18 through September 4, 2016 with performances from Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. The show will be staged at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts that is located at 397 E. 156th Street, Cleveland, Ohio. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students with group discounts available. Tickets may be purchased online by clicking HERE.