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Tragic fight of Johnny Owen comes to stage
A play based on the infamous 1980 boxing match between the Welsh boxing phenomenon Johnny Owen and Mexican pugilist Lupe Pintor is soon to make its way to Wales Millennium Centre. The centre will stage host the only UK performances of Fighting Words from 19-29 July. The play is a fictional work following the lives of three women in Merthyr Tydfil as Owen, known as the Matchstick Man, went to Los Angeles to fight for the World Bantamweight Championship. WMC's Theatre Programmer Louise Miles-Crust says, "This is a powerful play about the secrets, dreams and desires of three women in Merthyr as they await the news of their hometown hero. This production, which also forms a part of the Cardiff City of Drama Festival, is a tragic but true story about the legend, Johnny Owen, who died in a coma 46 days after a fatal punch in this fight." Directed by Tim Byron Owen and written by Sunil Kuruvilla, this Los Angeles cast follow the lives of unhappily married Nia, who yearns for a broadcasting career and was Johnny's confidant, her feisty younger sister Peg, who dreams of becoming a boxer herself and of marrying Johnny when he returns and Mrs. Davies, their sharp-tongued landlady and a local midwife who helped bring Johnny into the world.

As the women breathlessly await the fight result, they also make plans for their own uncertain futures.

Author Sunil Kuruvilla Kuruvilla is a Canadian playwright of East Indian descent.

Fighting Words had its world premiere at the Factory Theatre in Toronto in 2001, and its American Premiere at Yale Rep the following year. Tickets are priced at £5 for the preview on Wednesday 19 July and £12 full and £10 concessions thereafter. The show will run at WMC from 19-29 July with all performances at 8pm. To book, contact the WMC ticket and information office on 08700 40 2000 or visit: www.wmc.org.uk

 

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