Written by Brett Neveu, the production officially opens Aug. 6; the limited engagement will continue through Sept. 7.
Directed by Karen Kessler, the two-character play features original Chicago cast members Kamal Angelo Bolden and Guy Van Swearingen as Donell and Tre, respectively.
The play, according to press notes, "takes a look at the hard scrabble world of boxing from the perspective of a small time gym owner and a young up-and-comer. They come from different worlds, they barely understand each other, but in the ring anything is possible. Questions of loyalty and life's dreams are put to the test in this explosive New York premiere that promises to pull some punches and fearlessly land the others."
A Red Orchid NY fulfills the expanded mission of the Chicago-based company to introduce the ensemble's original new works to a national audience.
The Opponent marks the third production originally produced by A Red Orchid Theatre charting a path to New York City. Tracy Letts' Bug and Craig Wright's Mistakes Were Made, both starring A Red Orchid Theatre company member Michael Shannon, received their world premieres in Chicago prior to New York debuts at the Barrow Street Theatre. "Joining forces with this remarkable team of artists and reconnecting with our theatrical roots is especially exciting. The collaboration is perfectly aligned with a primary focus and passion — reinforcing the bridge between the theatrical community in New York and the exceptional talent on the ground in Chicago," Debbie Bisno said in a previous statement. "We envision this partnership as a model to foster a more active pipeline between NYC audiences & the Industry, and the uniquely intimate ensemble work and new writers who are constantly percolating and thriving in Chicago. There's something about how the 'ensemble' approach to theater fuels a certain type of raw talent, and particularly visceral experiences, that audiences don't always experience on the larger stages and commercial platforms."
A Red Orchid Theatre (Chicago) was founded in 1993. Members include Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West.
Bisno Productions is headed by Debbie Bisno and producer Roberta Pereira, whose recent productions include Mothers and Sons, Annie, Grace, War Horse and West End's Olivier-winning Merrily We Roll Along.