Told in a boxing ring over six rounds, The Royale shows us the deeply human cost of making history. From playwright Marco Ramirez (Orange is the New Black, Daredevil) comes a story inspired by World Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson who, at the height of the Jim Crow era, became the most famous Black man on Earth. The Royale is directed by Guillermo Verdecchia and Dion Johnstone takes on the role of Jay.
“In the era of Colin Kaepernick using his platform as an athlete to take a knee and combat oppression against blacks,” says Dion Johnstone, “the dangers when a black athlete or celebrity rises above the role of mere entertainer to change the status quo seems to be as prevalent now as it was then.”
“Extraordinarily efficient! That this production never deploys real physical blows in recreating life in the ring is by no means to say that it doesn’t pack a punch.” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times.
On at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts from October 12 to November 11 2018, for tickets and more information, click here.
The apocalypse begins with tea. Directed by Jennifer Tarver and co-produced by Necessary Angel Theatre Company, this production of Escaped Alone by Caryl Churchill features an all-female cast and crew. This award-winning play bends through time and space to illuminate four friends sitting in a garden, on the precipice of complete catastrophe. With wicked humour and profound prescience, Churchill shows us a poetic world, closer to devastation than we think. Featuring an ensemble cast of Clare Coulter, Brenda Robins, Kyra Harper and Maria Vacratsis.
Escaped Alone won the 2017 Writers Guild Award for Best Play.
“Like much of Churchill’s work, Escaped Alone eschews easy answers. At 78, she’s inarguably one of Britain’s greatest living playwrights, and this particular work, her newest, is funny, charming, and alarming,” – Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic.
On at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts from October 28 to November 25, 2018, for tickets and more information, click here.
The casts of The Royale and Escaped Alone answer the question:
Why you are excited to be working on the show, and why you are choosing to put your time towards it?
Illustration by Marie Lafrance
Fish - The Royale
The list goes on and on about the brave people who opened doors for future generations to follow. Little do we think about the cost to their personal lives, yet they exist. Jack Johnson was the first Black boxer to fight a White boxer for the Heavyweight Championship. This was unprecedented and I'm so excited to be telling this story based on Jack Johnson, a person who saw the glass ceiling and punched a boxing fist right through it.
Jay - The Royale
What draws me to The Royale is the exploration of the pressure a person of colour feels when they find themselves at the forefront of a movement. The character of Jay Jackson is loosely based on legendary boxer Jack Johnson, and the famous match which made him the heavyweight champion of the world. The play explores whether his motivations are to be beacon for black consciousness, or to satisfy his own pride and ego or if there are even deeper, hidden reasons?
Max - The Royale
The short answer and the only true answer I have ever had about starting any play is that I don't know. It’s a gut thing, I always start in complete and total ignorance. That’s the only way creative work can start in my experience—from the willingness to sit in the unknown—with no answers or bearings.
Wynton - The Royale
First, as an American I am grateful for the welcome to live and work in this country, especially at this time more than ever, and then thrilled that this powerful and important play out of America is embraced and resonates here. That shared understanding between us also especially important in these times.
Nina - The Royale
When reading the interactions between brother and sister as represented in the play, I was struck by the contrast between the ambitious, powerful athlete, and his strong, but humble sister who serves as a reminder of their roots in a marginalized group. Jay Jackson's success is shared in vicariously by his community, and yet they are the ones experiencing the consequences for his upsetting the social order. What consequences are acceptable when pushing for advancement? Who is expendable? And is success for one or for many? I knew I had to be a part of the unpacking of all these complex questions.
Illustration by Marie Lafrance
Mrs. Jarrett - Escaped Alone
Clare Coulter won a Dora Mavor Moore Award in 1984 for her performance in Caryl Churchill's Top Girls.
Vi - Escaped Alone
Escaped Alone is a challenging play that scares me little bit. I think there are secrets to be revealed that don’t appear on the page. It’s like a piece of music and it has to be heard to have an effect. That's exciting!
Lena - Escaped Alone
The brilliance of Caryl Churchill’s writing, terrifying, insightful, foreboding, yet still infused with her razor sharp wit...a play written for 4 women of ‘a certain age’, a great woman director, and the musicality of the piece....what more reason could you want to do the gig?!
Sally - Escaped Alone
Escaped Alone is a gift for a senior actor, a modern day Godot for women. It's endlessly fascinating to dissect our present day politics through the eyes of Caryl Churchill who has always been on the cutting edge of a feminist view point.