For the first time a boxing match will take centre stage at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre and is set to be a knock-out with audiences.
Intertwined between rounds, the story of a former Congolese child solider is told in Fighter, running at the Wollongong theatre from Wednesday to Saturday.
The award-winning production is the first for playwright Future D Fidel who thought the physicality of a real boxing match would add to the experience and emotion of the play.
“Mid-way through you can see the sweat dripping down and the other actors are constantly mopping so they don’t slip,” he said.
“The play is based around the boxing ring, when you go it’s more like watching a boxing match but then in between the fights that’s when we start discovering Isa’s journey from the Congo to becoming a refugee to Australia.”
Fidel likened the “journey” to his own, though he was not forced into becoming a soldier but he said his escape from the Congo and time in a refugee camp inspiration for the character.
Fidel had seen rebels parading decapitated heads on spears, and mass graves. When he was three, his father, Useni, a Methodist-style minister had been murdered. Fidel has no memory of his father, nor a photograph of him.
A decade later, Fidel – his middle initial stands for Destiny – had dashed from school to the hospital where his mother, Debora, was vomiting blood, having been in good health the night before.
His attempt to donate blood for transfusion in the equipment-starved and understaffed facility was in vain. She died soon after.
Now thriving in Australia, Fidel is making his name as a playwright and author and has just released a novel version of the play, Prize Fighter.