In This Corner
By Steven Drukman
Directed by Ethan McSweeny
Originally produced at Old Globe, San Diego, CA.
January 5, 2008 through February 10, 2008
About the Premiere Production: In 1938, there was no bigger sporting event than the bout between German boxer Max Schmeling and American "Brown Bomber" Joe Louis. World War II is about to change how Americans view the world around them and this fight elevated Louis from African-American hero to All-American icon. In 1970, the two men reunite in the most unlikely of places: a psychiatric ward. The Cassius Carter Centre Stage becomes the ultimate arena and every seat is ringside as the decisive battle begins - for honor, country, and for self-respect in The Old Globe’s world-premiere production of In This Corner.
Artistic Statement: In an age when athletic competition has been corrupted (and I believe diminished) by commercial and social interests, the stories of Max Schmeling and Joe Louis addressed in In This Corner are both instructive and compelling. That Louis, a black man denied equal access and subjected to racial epithets in and out of print in segregated America became a symbol and chief defender of American democracy is, in retrospect, absurd and even diabolical. Schmeling, who helped more than 100 Jews escape the Nazis and repeatedly refused to join the party, was embraced by Hitler after he beat Louis in 1936 and paraded as an example of Aryan supremacy—until he lost the rematch to Louis in 1938. The American media and fight promoters of the 1938 bout fanned those political fires to produce boxing’s biggest gate since the Dempsey-Tunney fight in 1927. In fact, each man reveled in competing against the other. Schmeling, a scientist of boxing, knew Louis was the greatest heavyweight of all time, but thought he could beat him in 1936—and did. After his first loss to Schmeling, Louis wanted to prove he was the best in 1938—and did. This exciting world premiere is now up and running at The Old Globe, in the Cassius Carter Centre Stage. It is proving extremely popular with audiences and will likely end its run as one of the best-selling premieres in the Carter’s history. - From Jerry Patch, Co-Artistic Director:
Director: Ethan McSweeny
Set Design: Lee Savage
Lighting Design: Tyler Micoleau
Sound Design: Tyler Micoleau
Costume Design: Tracy Christensen
Dramaturg: Jerry Patch
Stage Manager: Diana Moser
The James Irvine Foundation