King James: Fendom and Friendship Festival
Discuss the new play and acknowledge the role of sports play in society with Glen Davis
Editor’s note: Bakewell Media, owner of LA Sentinel, will be watching Black Men’s History Month throughout June, recognizing some of the dynamic men in Southern California.
Graduated actor, producer and co-artistic director of the Steppenwolf Theater, Glen Davis, returns to the Mark Tapper Forum for the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s “King James” from June 1 to July 3.
In a city looking for guidance, no figure looked like LeBron James. “King James” is an intimate exploration of the way sports and athletes occupy the emotional lives and relationships of fans who love them.
Examining the influence of the reign of the great basketball “king” LeBron James in Cleveland and how it brings promise, prosperity and renewal to a city that desperately needs all three, Joseph’s play tells an eye-opening story about how a shared love of sports can to affect so much of the human world.
The production is immersed in the influence of James on the city of Cleveland, from its new season to the historic city championship and the lives of two unlikely friends whose turbulent relationships are best managed through their shared love of sports.
In an interview with Glen Davis, who plays Sean, he told the LAS that “King James” is the culmination of our [he and Rajiv Joseph] conversations over the years about sports and sports figures and the natural imprint they have in our lives. ”
Davis said that both Rajiv Joseph and LeBron James are natives of Ohio, so the basketball player has become a center point of the game.
“He [Joseph] I thought it would be great to write about something that is close to us. We are both big sports fans. We wanted to talk about how these central sports figures dominate our lives in many ways, becoming everyday gods, “said Davis.
“King James” depicts friends Sean and Matt, who come together for a collective love and admiration for the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, especially in his new year.
“[Lebron] “It’s seen as a great supplier for Ohio, most of Ohio and northeastern Ohio,” Davis told the LAS. “This is how Rajiv outlined their relationship during LeBron’s career. When something amazing happens to LeBron, it happens to them. And when something dramatic or devastating happens to LeBron, it happens to them.
Davis Sean’s character was also born in Ohio, born and raised in Cleveland.
“Sean is not so good, but in the end he went to a really, really good school. He wants to be a TV writer and is actively pursuing that dream, “said the actor. “He is portrayed as a man who has lost his way, but as long as he finds his way and achieves some success, he resembles this figure of LeBron James.”
The transcendence of Sean’s career in the play goes hand in hand with the transcendence of LeBron’s career. Davis believes that having a space where Sean can exercise his love of sports and the satisfaction it gives him lifts his life.
“When Sean finds and meets Matt, he is the man who instantly becomes his best friend. His family became part of Sean’s family, so you see the inner workings of psychology in both of them through their love of sports.
The role of Sean and Matt came easily to the two sports-loving actors. Davis said he spent his life preparing for the role.
“I already knew how to be a sports fan, having been a Chicago Cubs fan for so long. I knew the sense of longing that Cleveland sports fans felt about not having a championship in their hometown for fifty-two years.
He continues: “I recognized Sean in many of the types of people I grew up with, and even people I still know who are sports fanatics. But [this play] has this element of sport as a religion, which is the same with sports fans. I didn’t choose to be a fan of the Chicago Bulls and then Michael Jordan. Growing up in Chicago in the 1990s, I was born into this kind of tapestry of sports figures and I was always destined to be a fan of Jordan. ”
However, to focus on the play, Davis said he had to do some in-depth research on LeBron James and the details of his life and career over time.
“We have the same birthday,” Davis realized. “It was great to know we had some things in common.
Unlike the actor himself, Davis said that his character Sean also looks a bit of a playboy in “King James”.
“He’s in and out of a relationship, and he concludes that he can’t really keep in touch.” Davis said, “He’s not very close to his family either, and he’s looking for friends like Matt.”
As for his own fandom, Glenn Davis said he was not as “fanatical” as Sean.
“When LeBron leaves Cleveland, he is desperate, and when he returns, he is excited. It’s everything to him. As I get older, I love to play sports, but I’m less inclined to allow athletes and sports in general to take up so much space in my psyche. ”
“King James” is a play that recognizes sport as the last “great meritocracy” that people have in today’s society, where human value is based solely on their performance.
“You can be black or Latin American while someone else is white, and that doesn’t matter. When your teams win, you turn around and clap your hands and say, “Yes! Let’s go!’ Fans give their all in one game, but in many ways they leave a part of themselves at the door. ”
He continued: “Along with sports, the play recognizes competition and says that it is good to have areas in our society where we can follow your opponent or kill and be killed.
“King James” is a play not only for sports fans, but also for those who want to see a show about friendship, family, finding yourself and much more. Rajiv Joseph is able to recognize sports as the basis of human life and how in reality it is much more than just winning a game.
“Razhiv Joseph is one of the greatest writers of our generation. He is such a genius in various media, “said Davis.
“King James” opened on June 8 at the Mark Taper Forum, 135 N Grand Ave., in Los Angeles. The show will last until July 3. For tickets visit: https://www.centertheatregroup.org/tickets/mark-taper-forum/2021/king-james/.
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