"Original and graceful. THE ROYALE packs a punch!"— The New York Times, March 7, 2016
THE ROYALE is a most unusual play about a boxer. First of all, it is not really about life in the ring. Second, not a single punch will be thrown, at least not with fists. The play is about the life of the outsider in American culture. Set in 1905, deep in the midst of Jim Crow, it explores one man’s struggle while reflecting a much broader one. It is also a play about a brother and sister who protect each other but don’t agree on what that means.
Charismatic African-American boxer Jay “The Sport” Jackson (Khris Davis), has a burning desire to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Jackson’s fight begins long before the match, though; it takes careful negotiations to convince the white reigning titleholder to even recognize him as a worthy opponent and enter the ring. Tony-nominated Montego Glover (Memphis) plays Jackson’s sister Nina: the boxer’s greatest adversary and strongest motivation.
The stylized and stunning conception of author Marco Ramirez will be realized by director Rachel Chavkin (LCT3’s Preludes), with sets by Nick Vaughan, costumes by Dede Ayite, lighting by Austin R. Smith, and sound by Matt Hubbs.
Inspired by the real-life experiences of Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight world champion, THE ROYALE, has seen acclaimed productions in London, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego.
The Chicago Tribune said:
“The Royale, which makes for a gripping 75 minutes of theater, avoids cliches, preferring to delve deep into the leading character's psyche.”
London’s The Telegraph wrote:
“The play’s opening scene shows Ramirez’s gift for timing – with foot-stomps, hand-claps and fist-bumps punctuated to a millisecond throughout the fights to represent the delivered punches. It’s a febrile soundtrack to a well-constructed drama that captures both the beautiful frenzy of boxing and the (sadly still relevant) volatile state of race relations in America.”