A Red Orchid Theatre presents the world premiere of ensemble member Brett Neveu’s THE OPPONENT. It’s the day of the big fight. Donell is a boxer heading to New Orleans for a pay-per-view match. He’s hit the big time. Donell is planning to kick off his undefeated career tonight. As Donell chats about cars and mansions, his trainer Tre tries to get him to focus on his form. A retired fighter Tre has been where Donell is going. He just doesn’t know if he can endure it again. THE OPPONENT dazzles with fancy footwork and a powerhouse combination.
Playwright Brett Neveu pens an authentic portrait of two fighters. The first act is the day of a career changing boxing match. The second act is five years after that fight. Neveu’s dialogue crackles with realism. Neveu literally plops us ringside and let’s us duke out the details. The story is cleverly hidden in the dialogue. Under the masterful direction of Karen Kessler and fight director John Tovar, the cast is superb.
Guy Van Swearingen (Tre) and Kamal Angelo Bolden (Donell) are a couple of pros that pack a wallop. They act like boxers. They move like boxers. They totally transform into these characters. On the surface, Van Swearingen is the wise teacher and Bolden is the cocky student. But their stories are below the surface and we piece together the complexity of the characters in what they are saying and what they are not saying. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s exactly like being at training and watching the drills and listening to the chat. They go several rounds physically and verbally fighting. It is exhausting and impressive.
Set Designer Joey Wade has converted A Red Orchid into a fully-functional gym. Punching bags, jump ropes, posters and then of course the huge monstrosity in the middle of the theatre. Wade built a boxing ring. The worn details skillfully match everything about this play. It’s all so real! THE OPPONENT is a bonafide winner!
HINT: Dress warm! They keep the theatre cold for the boxing.
Running Time: 110 minutes includes an intermission
At A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells
Written by Brett Neveu
Directed by Karen Kessler
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
EXTENDED Thru December 15th
Buy Tickets at www.aredorchidtheatre.org