Marco Ramirez's "The Royale" @ The Aurora Theatre: Review

by Rhonda Shrader, November 12, 2017

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Vanquishing an opponent doesn’t automate acceptance.  Backlash is a powerful force--just ask Colin Kaepernick.  At the turn of the century, backlash could also be deadly. Marco Ramirez has crafted an extraordinary glimpse into the harsh realities faced by early celebrity athletes of color.  Director and co-choreographer Darryl V. Jones’ abstraction of fighting makes the play less about boxing and more about the searing memories that drive us.

Delighted to see Tim Kniffin back at the Aurora—his Max is equal parts carnival barker and back room dealer.  Calvin M. Thompson brings a monumental intensity and focus to the lead character, Jay.  This is matched by the other talented members of the cast, especially Atim Udoffia as Nina.

Who will love this play?  Anyone who’s purposely chosen a pyrrhic victory over the status quo and everyone who believes that justice is still worth fighting for, consequences be damned.  Watch out for this one—it’s a jab to the heart when you least expect it.