The Royale | American Theater Company | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through March 29 2015
Price: $48-$60
Marco Ramirez's muscular, poetic 2013 play—a hypnotic riff on showmanship, exploitation, and self-preservation in Jim Crow America—stops just shy of brilliance. Through eloquent, stylized scenes punctuated with percussive claps, stomps, and guttural laughs, Ramirez follows the swaggering, deeply wounded Jay "the Sport" Jackson, a wildly popular Negro boxer circa 1905 who’ll stop at nothing to fight the (white) heavyweight champion of the world. Inspired by the saga of Jack Johnson, Ramirez’s terse, ruminative fantasy enmeshes Jackson in an intricate web of bravado and resentment, where he faces consequences both life-changing and life-destroying. Director Jamie Castañeda’s uncompromising cast renders most every moment haunting, harrowing, and human, and while Ramirez’s thematically repetitive and conceptually muddled finale shortchanges everything that precedes it, the lead-up is thrilling. —Justin Hayford
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