Photo Flash: First Look At THE ROYALE At Kitchen Theatre Company
Next up at the Kitchen Theatre Company is The Royale by Marco Ramirez, a play that will leave audiences breathless with its emotionally-charged fight scenes, lyrical dialogue, and poignant critique of American race relations. Performances of The Royale begin at the Kitchen Theatre Company in the Percy Browning Performance Space on March 10th and run through March 31st. Opening night is Thursday, March 14th.
It's the height of the Jim Crow era and Jay "The Sport" Jackson is fighting to be the first African American heavyweight world champion. Join the crowd ringside as he bobs and weaves his way through a segregated country, trying to stay on his feet. Inspired by the story of ground-breaking boxer Jack Johnson, The Royale is a fast-paced drama that examines what it costs a black man to gain a place in history.
"It is a play I am deeply drawn to, both for its theatrical form and its political relevance," says Director Pirronne Yousefzadeh, newcomer to the Kitchen Theatre. "The Royale unapologetically demands utmost rigor and virtuosity from its performers in its propulsive rhythm and precise musicality. And in this sociopolitical moment, it is crucial to tell a story that reminds us of our history, and of the trailblazers along the way who challenged the status quo and fought for equality. It is a play that makes us reckon with systemic issues in our society, who we allow to win, and at what cost."
Also making his Ithaca debut in The Royale is Jamal James (Jay) who agrees this play sparks important conversations relevant to the current moment. "Race, unfortunately and fortunately, is a huge factor in the construction of our country, now as it was then. Black people have always been struggling with the idea of power, beauty, heroism, and inner strength to just be seen as equal. This is a story about a man who doesn't wait for permission to be seen or recognized. He fights the status quo on his terms."
Returning to the KTC stage is Alexander Thomas who plays Wynton, Jay "The Sport" Jackson's trainer. Alexander says The Royale "is not a metaphor for America but a depiction of America. And I mean, like, right now." Alexander has appeared in many Kitchen Theatre plays, including Opus, The Whipping Man, Broke-ology, Sunset Baby, After Ashley, and his solo play Throw Pitchfork.
Joining James and Thomas are Lisa Tharps (Nina), Sean Meehan (Max) and DazMann Still (Fish). The play is directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh. Scenic and Lighting Design is by Seth Reiser, Costume Design is by Sarafina Bush, and Sound Design is by Christopher Lane. Rocio Mendez is the movement specialist.
Following its run in Ithaca, the Kitchen Theatre's production of The Royale will be moving to the Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, with productions there from April 11 to 28. This will be the sixth Kitchen Theatre production to transfer to Geva. Previous productions include Smart People (2017), Sex with Strangers (2017), Dancing Lessons (2016), A Body of Water (2015) and Black Pearl Sings! (2014).
Photo Credit: Teresa Mogil
Alexander Thomas and Jamal James