An American boxer comes to Barcelona at the start of the 20th century. His name is Jack Johnson and he was the first Afro-American to be proclaimed world heavy-weight champion. He took on Jim Jeffries in the so-called “Fight of the Century” and beat him, against all odds, in a victory against racism. Of course, Johnson will have to pay a heavy price for his victory: an unjust sentence forces him to abandon his country. And while he finds a different, perhaps freer, atmosphere in Barcelona, Jack Johnson continues to be chased by the ghosts of his past and the memory of his rival, Jim Jeffries.
The “fight of the century” may have ended some time ago at the ring, but it continues in Jack Johnson's life. What's the price we pay for our victories? What's the boundary between success and failure? Are they maybe two sides of the same reality? What is, for Jack Johnson, the true “fight of the century”? Is it the fight against racism? Or a savage fight between love and desire? Down in a cellar in a Barcelona about to erupt, the Excelsior, a nightclub located in Av. Paral·lel, becomes the stage where Johnson faces up to his life. The nightclub's performers, his wife and other figures of the time lead him through this frenetic story that looks us in the eyes and questions us.
Denise Duncan has written a work full of humanity, accompanied by music from Menorcan pianist, improviser and composer Marco Mezquida (2020 City of Barcelona Prize for his album No hay dos sin tres, performed and recorded with guitarist Juan Gómez, Chicuelo). Duncan is a playwright born in Costa Rica and established in Barcelona, where she studied dramatics and directing (Institut del Teatre) and was one of the founders of the La Pulpe Teatro company. With a long career behind her, she has premièred productions such as Vaques sagrades, Está linda la mar, C.O.C.A., Una dona en el mirall and Negrata de merda (2018). She has been a resident author at the Sala Beckett since September 2019 and will continue as such until July 2020.
A Grec 2020 Festival de Barcelona, Sala Beckett, Centre Dramàtic Nacional and Teatre Principal de Palma co-production.
The De Grec a Grec programme is subject to the recommendations of the health authorities and the uncertainty of the current situation.
Written and directed by: Denise Duncan Translated into Catalan by: Marc Rosich Composed and conducted by: Marco Mezquida Performed by: Queralt Albinyana, Armando Buika, Alex Brendemühl, Andrea Ros and Yolanda Sikara Stage design: Víctor Peralta Lighting: Guillem Gelabert Costumes: Nina Pawlowsky Sound space: Jordi Bonet Boxing adviser: Xavier Flotats, Machete Choreography adviser: Jeanette Moreno Silva Adaptation adviser: Isaias Fanlo Assistant director: Xavi Buxeda Marcet Student intern: Kayja Diao Photography: Kiku Piñol
Share this content