2012, 2011, 2010
This was inspired by a friend taking Steven Hoggett to a boxing gym in New York. They did not tell him where they were taking him and before he knew it he had gone through the unassuming doors and found himself among the sights, sounds and smells of one of the world's most iconic boxing gyms. Gleason's in Brooklyn.
The sensory overload had a lasting impression and he told me all about it when he got back from New York. I then told him about my love and knowledge of boxing history. It struck me that he had known me for twenty years and did not know this about me because it was my secret. My relationship with boxing was complicated and conflicted. I remembered watching a thrilling match where a boxer was seriously brain damaged and I somehow felt complicit in this as I was, up until that point, as enthralled and excited as any viewer.
We decided we wanted to make a show about that conflict, looking with an open mind about the attraction of boxing to those who partake and exploring their feelings about the potential for damage. Again we collaborated with Bryony Lavery.
Steven, myself and the cast all trained vigorously over the course of the rehearsals and we have never had a fitter or more energised company. The process changed how we rehearse work from that point as the circuits, fitness and strength work really focussed the team.