Tyson vs. Ali
Currently in production
July/ August 2013 Workshop NYC
December 2013 Preview Performances
January 2014 World Premier
TYSON vs ALI realizes the greatest heavyweight boxing match that never happened. The production drops my signature combination of live-action and lifted-video footage into a real boxing ring. Leather hits flesh, as “Iron Mike’s” brute pugilism goes toe-to-toe, literally, with the larger-than-life poetry (in word and foot) of “The Greatest.”
Fans of boxing could argue endlessly if Muhammad Ali’s legendary footwork, speed, and reach would be an effective antidote to Mike Tyson’s unparalleled fierceness in the ring were it possible for them to fight one another in their primes. What makes the realization of this fantasy dramatically compelling – set in a real boxing ring and taking place over a 12 rounds fight – is that both of these boxers outshine their athletic reputations and achievements…for starkly different reasons.
Both fighters still loom large in the world’s cultural imagination; their stories carry special resonance for African-Americans; and both are major players in America’s cultural evolution. Ali’s extra-athletic activities included taking on “Uncle Sam and winning” in his deliberately public conscientious objection to the Vietnam War, while Tyson’s controversial public history played out the all too common tragedy of the contemporary black male athlete – his super-talent exploited for all it was worth.
TYSON vs. ALI explores how differently these two heroes of the black community reigned when on their thrones, how their histories and personalities affected their community and the world. It shows how it is only because of boxing that they became the heroes they are, and it was also boxing that destroyed them both – Ali growing battle-addled in his senior age, and Tyson barely surviving controversy, prison, and mad behavior to a middle-aged suburban self-reflection he never thought he would live to see.
Below are some pics from our August work shop.