BETC’s ‘The Royale’ packs a punch with jaw-dropping performances at the Dairy Arts Center – Boulder Daily Camera


The latest production from the Butterfly Effect Theater of Colorado gives audiences a front-row seat to a story of drive, determination and discipline.

Cameron Davis and Lavour Addison star in BETC’s production of “The Royale.” (Michael Ensminger/courtesy photo)

“The Royale,” originally slated for the 2020-2021 season, follows the journey of fictional character Jay “The Sport” Jackson, an early 20th-century African-American boxer who dreams of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. .

“It’s been a long time coming, and I’m so thrilled that BETC has remained committed to producing this great story,” said Jada Suzanne Dixon, director of ‘The Royale’. “The passion and artistry the actors bring to bring the story to life is something not to be missed.”

Lavour Addison, as Jay
Lavour Addison, as Jay “The Sport” Jackson, and Lisa Young, as his sister Nina, star in BETC’s production of “The Royale.” (Michael Ensminger/courtesy photo)

Set in 1905, the adrenaline-fueled show shines a light on societal obstacles for people of color and shows everything it takes to convince the reigning white titleholder to recognize Jay “The Sport” Jackson as an opponent. worthy.

“The Carsen Theater at the Dairy Arts Center is the perfect intimate space for this production,” said Dixon. “It supports a visceral experience for the audience.”

The story of triumph and resilience is complemented by the organic soundscape that swirls around the stage. The cast’s passionate stomps and handclaps create a memorable thrilling and energetic ride.

“Playwright Marco Ramirez, in an interview, talked about the fact that boxing is a perfect metaphor for life and that, like jazz, it’s improvisational,” Dixon said. “Rhythm is a strong element of the story as the heartbeat and undercurrent of a story that is ultimately about family. Boxing is the framework in which we can explore the deeper elements.

Cris Davenport as Wynton and Cameron Davis as BETC star Fish
Cris Davenport as Wynton and Cameron Davis as Fish star in BETC’s “The Royale.” (Michael Ensminger/courtesy photo)

Themes of identity, belonging and anti-racism surface in the production that artfully presents an athlete’s journey to greatness.

For his piece, Ramirez was inspired by real-life boxer Jack Johnson – known as the ‘Galveston Giant’ – who, at the height of the Jim Crow era, became the world’s first Afro heavyweight boxing champion. -American.

Prior to writing the play, Ramirez worked as a screenwriter for the hit shows “The Defenders,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Daredevil,” and “Orange Is the New Black.”

The play’s lead actor, Lavour Addison, was active in the sports of wrestling and football during his high school and college years before he became interested in acting.

He credits his time in the ring and on the court to his ability to easily step into the role of Jay “The Sport” Jackson.

Lavour Addison, as Jay “The Sport” Jackson, stars in BETC’s “The Royale” which runs at the Carsen Theater at the Dairy Arts Center through November 19. (Michael Ensminger/Photo courtesy)

“I think it’s helped me tremendously throughout this journey,” Addison said. “Our goal for the production was for people to come away feeling like they’ve seen a play, but also a competition. I like being physical, and doing both in this play is a treat.

The game requires the lead to have strong stamina, and Addison made sure to work towards getting into even greater form.

“For the past two years I’ve incorporated boxing and kickboxing to get that extra conditioning,” Addison said.

Addison was originally cast as the character of Fish in the production, but was later asked to play the role of Jay.

“I really started watching what I was consuming, especially limiting alcohol,” Addison said.

Lavour Addison and Cameron Davis star in BETC
Lavour Addison and Cameron Davis star in BETC’s “The Royale” which runs at the Carsen Theater at the Dairy Arts Center through November 19. (Michael Ensminger/Photo courtesy)

He also studied the moves of a man considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.

“I was a huge fan of Mike Tyson in the ring because of his speed and power,” Addison said. “He also seemed so efficient in the way he generated power from his toes through his fist. To look at it was to look at poetry in motion. I wanted to base my shadow work and heavy bag work on his style.

Additionally, Addison and the cast received training at the Front Range Boxing Academy in Boulder.

Addison is based in the southwestern Colorado town of Creede, but would like the chance to star in one of BETC’s future productions.

“I once worked with Jada (Suzanne Dixon), our incredible director, at the Arvada Center, and she cast me on the show three years ago,” Addison said. “If they accept me, I would like to come back to work at BETC.”

Lavour Addison takes on the lead role of Jay
Lavour Addison stars as Jay “The Sport” Jackson in BETC’s “The Royale.” (Michael Ensminger/courtesy photo)

After ‘The Royale’ ends, people can look forward to BETC’s fast-paced, feminine reboot of Sherlock stories – Kate Hamill’s ‘Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson, Apt 2B’ – at the Grace Gamm Theatre, Dairy Arts Center, February 2-25.

At Dairy’s Carsen Theater from April 6-29, BETC will premiere “Eden Prairie, 1971,” a production by Mat Smart about a rebellious man who returns to Minnesota from Canada to deliver a message to a lovesick high school student.

Until then, audiences can revel in the hard-hitting performances of “The Royale.”

“As storytellers, what is rewarding is taking the world that a playwright has provided, dissecting it, understanding it intellectually, and weaving all the pieces together with heart and passion to bring it to life to create experiences that hopefully leave audiences thinking and feeling for days,” Dixon said.

There are 13 more chances to attend the production until November 19. Tickets cost between $15 and $35.

Lavour Addison, as Jay
Lavour Addison as Jay “The Sport” Jackson and Augie Truhn as Max star in BETC’s “The Royale.” (Michael Ensminger/courtesy photo)

“I hope audiences leave exhausted and away from the production,” Addison said. “It’s a great story about representation and how the smallest things in our lives can make the biggest difference in the world.”

‘The Royal’

Friday, November 4, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m.

Saturday, November 5, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 6, 2 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, November 11, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 2 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 13, 2 p.m.

Thursday, November 17, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, November 18, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 19, 2 p.m.

Saturday, November 19, 7:30 p.m.

More information at


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