Photo credits: Martin Kyle

#Growns confession time: So I did something different, a little, ok a lotta different. What I did differently is I opened my mouth and committed myself to a project and finished strong. What’s different about that? Often I can get stuck at the opened my mouth part but the commitment, finish strong part can present a problem from time to time.

Enough about me… let’s chat for a minute about this great play that I had the pleasure of peeking into the production process, which was the impetus behind the podcast project.

About The Royale

It’s 1905, and Jay “The Sport” Jackson dreams of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. But in the racially segregated Jim Crow era, his chances are as good as knocked out. When a nefarious boxing promoter concocts a plan for “the fight of the century,” “The Sport” might land a place in the ring with the reigning white heavyweight champion.

Loosely based on the life of Jack Johnson (1878–1946), the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion, THE ROYALE packs a punch in exploring one man’s ultimate
fight to beat the odds for a place in history.

Written by Marco Ramirez this staging of The Royale is directed by Leslie Scott-Jones at Live Arts (which is is a volunteer theater in Charlottesville, VA that has given a home to drama, dance, comedy, music and performance art since 1990.) My interest in the project is as someone who is concerned with culture not just popular culture. I wanted to understand the work involved, the amount of time commitment by the cast and crew to arrive at what I have often suspected that it takes to create a magical performance. I mentioned work earlier. That’s it. That’s the magic. Work.

For this limited run podcast series what I was most interested in was the chronicling of the work. Below you will find all five episodes of the series where we talk with the cast, crew and community members who all provided immeasurable contributions to The Royale. We hope that these podcast episodes will provide insight and inspiration. That perhaps a little light on cultural exports could be shed for those that may not receive the visibility that other cultural exports receive.