Brett Neveu's Boxing Play, The Opponent, Premieres in Chicago Oct. 18 | Playbill

News Brett Neveu's Boxing Play, The Opponent, Premieres in Chicago Oct. 18
A Red Orchid Theatre in Chicago presents the world premiere of Brett Neveu's The Opponent, about the world of small-time boxing, directed by Karen Kessler, Oct. 18-Dec. 2.

Kamal Angelo Bolden and Guy Van Swearingen in rehearsal
Kamal Angelo Bolden and Guy Van Swearingen in rehearsal

The Opponent was originally developed through Center Theatre Group's Writers' Workshop in Los Angeles. Both playwright and director are Red Orchid Ensemble members.

"Brett Neveu takes a look at the hard world of boxing from the perspective of small time gym owner Tre and the young up-and-comer Donell," according to Red Orchid notes. "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 world premiere that promises to pull some punches and fearlessly land the others."

The Opponent features A Red Orchid's founding artistic director and ensemble member Guy Van Swearingen as Tre, with Kamal Angelo Bolden as Donell.

Neveu said in a statement, "This play seeks to understand the profession of 'boxer' and the toll that the profession takes on the body, mind and soul. The play also discusses themes outside the ring; themes of fathers and sons, individual responsibility and how protecting ones pride can damage those one professes to care about. With a part written specifically for my friend and fellow ensemble member, Guy Van Swearingen, The Opponent marks my seventh collaboration with A Red Orchid Theatre."

The creative team includes Joey Wade (set designer), Myron Elliott (costume designer), Mike Durst (lighting designer), Joe Court (sound designer), Toni Kendrick (prop designer), John Tovar (fight director), Al Ortiz (boxing trainer), Kate DeVore (dialect coach), Christa Van Baale (stage manager), Chelsea Mead Jackson (assistant director) and Rick Julien (technical director). Neveu's plays include Megacosm, 4 Murders and twentyone.

Opening night is Oct. 22. A Red Orchid Theatre is at 1531 N. Wells in Chicago.

For tickets and information, visit

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