Take away the spectacular theatricality and Marco Ramirez's pugilistic drama would be a thin-ish script that makes some important points. But add the clapping hands and stomping feet -- that hit like punches -- and stylized boxing matches and the play becomes a ritualized conjuration of an era we should never forget. Jay "the Sport" Johnson (based on the legendary African-American, Jack Johnson) wants to be World Champ. He must beat a white man to win the crown. But if he does, African-Americans will pay dearly (as they did when Johnson won in 1908), many with their lives. Brilliantly directed by Rachel Chavkin, the five-person cast is a 100% committed ensemble of actors and, it turns out, percussive musicians. Robert Christopher Riley's Jay Johnson and Montego Glover's Nina stand out as foremost among equals. Nicholas Vaughan's wood-slatted set turns the White Theatre into a prizefighter's pit. Denitsa Bliznakova's costumes and Austin R. Smith's lighting capture the period, especially Smith's light bulbs with old-time zig-zag filaments over the house seats.
Ongoing until Sunday, November 2, 2014
|Sundays, 2pm & 7pm|
|Saturdays, 2pm & 8pm|