Rob Melrose


Photos by Rob Melrose

Director • Translator • Playwright     

Bone to Pick is available for touring through The Cutting Ball Theater.

Check out the full production video below.  


"Parks has a whimsical way with language, and her use of repetition brings out the humor and music of her dialogue. It’s all beautifully executed by Benefield and Skillman, who manage to traffic in Parks’ rhythms while bringing out darker shades involving sex, dissatisfaction, boredom and outright craziness."  

-Chad Jones


"Dust Commander is a potentially corrosive piece about a marriage in a repetitive rut. Benefield is an intriguingly complex, comic wife, with Skillman as her controlling spouse."

-Robert Hurwitt

The San Francisco Chronicle

"Since 1999, Cutting Ball Theater has been regaling Bay Area audiences with the sort of stage productions that tend to be so rare in modern theatre: intelligent, provocative, challenging, impossibly literary pieces that teem with playfulness and a throbbing vein of experimentalism. Artistic director Rob Melrose tends to deal in creating minor monuments to the exhilarating range of possibility that live theatre can offer (without the bombast or ginormous budget), from brief dramaturgical sketches by local playwrights to cheeky, audacious revisions of beloved Shakespeare plays.

Pulitzer-winning Suzan-Lori Parks is also represented in Betting on the Dust Commander (Cutting Ball’s fourth production by the playwright). The play is almost reminiscent of a Caryl Churchill piece but without resorting to the pathos of kitchen-sink drama. Here, tiny, suggestive snatches of conversation work to form a panorama depicting the lives of a couple living in 1950s Kentucky. Through the repetition of word-for-word dialogue that moves from the story of the couple’s wedding night and, years later, to an account of the husband sneaking out to the racetrack, we get a revealing glimpse into domestic dissatisfaction. The repetition serves as an almost hypnotic reminder of the emotional suffocation and habitual patterns of married life, and Parks’ attention to all the minutiae that composes what and how we choose to remember is both haunting and harrowing."

-Nirmala Nataraj


by Suzan-Lori Parks
The Cutting Ball Theater

Rob Melrose Artistic Director

July 18 - August 16, 2008

Directed by Rob Melrose

Set Design by Michael Locher

Costume Design by Jocelyn Herndon

Lighting Design by Heater Basarab

Original Music / Sound Design by Cliff Caruthers


MareFelicia Benefield
LuciusDavid Westley Skillman