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Keyword: ‘Michael Oatman’

Congratulations to Mike Oatman

June 19th, 2011 No comments

Michael Oatman

Winner of the 2011 Cleveland Arts Prize, Emerging Artist Award! As well as the nice, big, fat, juicy spread in the Cleveland Plain Dealer this morning.

Well, done, Sir. Bravo!

Force Continuum

November 20th, 2015 No comments

Law Enforcement Officer use of Force Considered

Model Force

Belated post on Force Continuum (Kia Corthon) I saw at Karamu on 10/29 at Karamu. My friend, and a playwright whom I greatly respect, Michael Oatman directed the piece that is, unfortunately, all too timely.

Force Continuum, as explained during the course of the play, is a model for law enforcement officer’s use of force. As all models are, of course, it’s theoretical and its application in any situation, especially a live confrontation, is, at best, hopeful.

The play itself puts the spotlight directly on the recent demonstrable results of the failure of this model to be applied. That is, there is a tiering of force levels from what is essentially verbal control to deadly force. The problem, as pointed out by this play, is that the mid-levels of the model seem to be applied less and less these days with law enforcement officers leaping from the verbal to deadly force almost immediately—especially in the case of Tamir Rice here in Cleveland.

The play further delves by telling the story of three generations of black law enforcement officers who must constantly confront their relationship with racism in their own profession—overt racism and that based on assumptions we all make about each other.

Corthon’s play is hard to follow, unfortunately. It is clearly meant to be a dynamic piece with actors in multiple roles and fluid scenes that merge time and place through the dramatic story. This doesn’t succeed very well, however, and leaves quite a bit of confusion that must actively be sorted out to get the full story straight.

Still, a timely piece with a few moments that are terrifying and highlight the challenges police (of any race) face as they apply a theoretical model to a practical reality every day.

Runs through this Sunday, Nov 22, at Karamu.

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