Though Poland's Slawomir Mrozek was exceptionally careful to warn that "this play does not contain anything except what it actually contains," it is a comment that a black cast can specifiy Mrozek's present setting in "sub-Sahara Africa" and make "The Police" suggest Idi Amin's present Uganda.
This is the novel feature of the production Norman Gevanthor has directed of Mrozek's '50s satire, performing Thursdays through Sundays at Paul Robeson Theater, 1632 O St. NW, original home of the vanished Washington Theater Club.
Mrozek imagines a police state which is down to one prisoner who startles the establishment by recanting his revolutionary heresies, there by leaving a general and a colonel with no reason for jail or jailers.
Tricking a career-oriented sergeant into thinking he is serving the state by posing as a revolutionary, the colonel, with numble assists from the intal revolutionary prisoner, saves the system.
Mrozek's cautions that there be "no scenographic tricks" and the play's spare prose (in Leonides D-Ossetynski's translation it originally was titled "The Policeman") serve his warning that "any attempt at exaggerated emphasizing, interpreting or overacting his author's work will be a failure."
Thus Gevanthor's choice of play serves the rudimentary O Street stage faithfully. That solid actor-director-designer of Howard University, St. Clair Christmas, is dry and self-abnegating as the colonel in a cast which further includes Keith Johnson, Sandra Bowie (a vital actress), Joseph Kelliebrew, Joe Pickney and, as a last-minute cast entry reading from the book, Cedric Harris.