"Rumsfeld meets Douglass.

Snark would be easy, as would playing to our comfortable notions of right and wrong. Saito’s play, commissioned by and developed with Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose, leaves loose ends dangling all over the place, but it seldom takes an easy way out. SubtitIed “A Comedy of Enhanced Interrogations,” it’s funny, but decidedly serious. It’s fanciful but as confrontational as the horrific pattern of whip-induced welts on the back of Giovanni Adams’ intensely serious and curious young Douglass and the familiar torture photos from Abu Ghraib. And the characters’ moral stances are not quite as cut-and-dried as you might expect."  

-Robert Hurwitt

San Francisco Chronicle


“Rob Melrose has assembled a fine cast of four excellent actors to present this comedy-drama. Yes, there is humor in the play, especially with Lorri Holt playing Joyce Rumsfeld. She believes there are household ghosts of the past lurking about. Lorri Holt is a breath of fresh air every time she appears on the stage.

Giovanni Adams, fresh up from Los Angeles, is excellent in the role of the teenage Frederick. He beautifully morphs from a submissive slave to a more demanding individual. David Sinaiko stunningly transforms into Donald Rumsfeld and gives a brilliant performance. Rounding out the cast is Geoffrey Nolan as the slave owner Edward Covey. He gives a vibrant performance and I was reminded of Edward Asner's role in "Roots."

Director Melrose balances the overlying actions and time period effortlessly. Scenic designer Michael Locher has produced a minimal set for the extremely long stage while Heidi Leigh Hanson's costumes reflect both periods efficiently.”

– Richard Connema

Talkin' Broadway

Photos by Rob Melrose & Chase Ramsey

by Andrew Saito
The Cutting Ball Theater
Rob Melrose, Artistic Director
May 8 - June 7, 2015

Directed by Rob Melrose
Set Design by Michael Locher
Costume Design by Heidi Leigh Hanson
Lighting Design by Heather Basarab
Original Music / Sound Design by Cliff Caruthers
Production Stage Management by Tazwell Caputo

Donald RumsfeldDavid Sinaiko
Frederick DouglassGiovanni Adams
Joyce RumsfeldLorri Holt
Edward CoveyGeoffrey Nolan

Director • Translator • Playwright     

Rob Melrose

"In Saito’s probing vision, every character has multiple personality layers, carefully developed by the actors and director Rob Melrose.
In juxtaposing American “enhanced interrogation” tactics (see subtitle) like waterboarding with the violence perpetrated against African-American slaves, the playwright makes our checkered history feel all too immediate.."

-Jean Schiffman

The Examiner