A high-energy cast of performers took to the stage at Creative Space at Waterloo Arts on August 18 and responded to the killing of Tamir Rice with as much force, intensity, and brutality as the actual act that inspired the production.
This was the world premiere of a work so raw, that serves it up so straight, no chaser … that takes no prisoners… that minces no words … that spares no feelings … just like Timothy Loehmann serving up the execution of a 12-year-old boy who had been playing with a replica gun in a city park.
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.
This is an accurate depiction of racism in America, where the police are but the tip of the spear, the point of the dagger that for centuries has been repeatedly plunged into the backs of black citizens with impunity for one main reason: Because a cop is rarely held accountable for his or her actions — no matter the evidence against them.
This was a collaborative effort on the part of gifted writers who knew what the hell they were writing about. I know, since this is the field that, as a journalist, I’m an expert in. I was listening intently, weighing and judging every word, every statement of fact, and I heard nothing false — not once.
This was a troupe of actors who had been coalesced into a body by brilliant direction, to the point they moved as one. From the chaotic opening depictions of police violence to the equally brilliant monologues, which were so passionate they sometimes were spit out at the audience.
This was about the mother of Malissa Williams sitting on a cube on a bare stage, cigarette in hand, seemingly half drunk with rage, and calling Michael Brelo “a punk-assed motherfucker” for standing on the hood of a car and firing close to 50 rounds into the bodies of two unarmed individuals. The mother had to say it through an actor, but the important thing is that the world got to hear it.
This is about the mother of Tamir Rice finally getting the chance to make her baby boy human, to talk about his dreams and aspirations. When the five officers were gunned down in Dallas, a wife of a cop went on TV to say how afraid she and other wives were in regards to their husbands being out in the streets. This was about responding by saying, “So now you know the fear we black mothers have been experiencing for our sons for centuries.” Again, an actor spoke for Tamir’s mother, but that didn’t make the words any less powerful.
This was about truth-telling that was so brutal that the progressive whites that had been brave enough to come virtually ran out of the theater as soon as the performers took their bows. Unfortunately, they had been traumatized — and that was the purpose.
This isn’t about who wrote, directed or acted in the production. That’s why I’ve purposely refrained from using any names; the list would be too long and surely I might leave someone out.
This is about a cathartic — a purging of an ugly incident that’s been replicated in too many places around the country too many times.
This is about getting it all out there so the healing can finally begin — that is, if another child isn’t gunned down in the interim.
Go see it. If you dare. It runs through Sun 9/4 at Creative Space at Waterloo Arts.
From Cool Cleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available again in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author by visiting http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.com