Take a ring side seat for a rare theatrical combo: engrossing storytelling paired with the visceral thrill of live boxing as the Melbourne International Arts Festival presents Future D. Fidel’s Prize Fighter at the Northcote Town Hall from 10 October 2018.
Prize Fighter tells a story of Isa, a Congolese boy who comes to Australia as a refugee escaping a brutal civil war and unspeakable horrors. Settling in Brisbane, he finds a passion and discipline in boxing. On the line is a national title and the promise of fame and riches beyond Isa’s wildest dreams.
Gearing up for the fight, he soon discovers it’s not just his opponents he has to surpass, but the demons from his torturous past as a boy soldier. With Pacharo Mzembe bringing his own hard-earned boxing skills to the role of Isa, Prize Fighter is adrenaline-pumping, full-contact theatre at its best.
Inspired by his own story and those of people he has known, Prize Fighter is the debut play of Fidel who was forced to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo as a child following the civil war in 1996. He and his siblings spent eight years in a Tanzanian refugee camp until being granted refugee status in Australia.
This is knockout theatre in every sense. From fight choreography so visceral, you’ll feel every blow to writing that packs an emotional punch, Prize Fighter ducks and weaves with astonishing grace.
Pacharo Mzembe (The Mountaintop, Underbelly, Gwen in Purgatory) performs alongside his brother, Gideon Mzembe. Both have strong sporting backgrounds – Pacharo with his years of boxing training and Gideon, a former professional rugby player with the Brisbane Broncos and Manly Sea Eagles.
“Prize Fighter is an incredible story told in the most thrilling of ways,” says Melbourne Festival Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway. “Staged as a boxing match right in front of you, Fidel’s debut play tells a story with elements we know really well, but also surprise. The work is muscular and casts out all of the reservations people have of the arts, putting theatre into a boxing ring: the smell, the sound, the sight.”
“Prize Fighter punches above its weight with the story of a former boy fighter.” – The Sydney Morning Herald
Director: Todd MacDonald Performers: Pacharo Mzembe, Gideon Mzembe, Margi Brown Ash, Marcus Johnson, Ratidzo Mambo, Mandela Mathia Dramaturg: Chris Kohn Designer: Bill Haycock Lighting Designer: David Walters Composer and Sound Designer: Felix Cross Sound Design Remix: Busty Beatz Video Designer: Optikal Bloc Movement and Fight Director: Nigel Poulton
Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre, 189 High Street, Northcote
Season: 10 – 20 October 2018
Information and Bookings: www.festival.melbourne
Image: Prize Fighter (supplied)