For senior thesis, Schwolsky ’15 directs ‘Boxing 2000’

Richard Maxwell’s play Boxing 2000, directed by Jonathan Schwolsky ’15 of North Caldwell, N.J., will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Nov. 14-16, in Gannett Theater, 305 College St.

The play is open to the public at no cost, and tickets are available online through Bates Tickets or by calling 207-7786-6161.

In Boxing 2000, a young man, Freddie (Will Dunbar ’15 of Greenville, S.C.), pursues underground boxing with the help of his older brother JoJo (Alex Moscovitz ’16 of South Hadley, Mass.).

Directing the play as part of his senior thesis project, Schwolsky says the experience is an opportunity to collaborate and experiment.


The play uses boxing culture as the framework for a discussion about masculinity and community. As director, Schwolsky sought actors who would bring in their own ideas about the play.

“The director is not the one in charge, but the one with the vision,” he says.

Jonathan Schwolsky '15 directs "Boxing 2000." (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Jonathan Schwolsky ’15 directs “Boxing 2000.” (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Schwolsky also feels a personal connection to the boxing culture in the play, a culture he says is very much present in his part of New Jersey. To prepare for the production, he attended an amateur boxing match and talked with people in the Boonton, N.J., boxing community.

Last spring, Schwolsky read 14 plays by Maxwell to prepare for his thesis. He was drawn to the colloquial language and universal message in Boxing 2000.

“Anyone can see this show and come out thinking something different.”

Maxwell himself directed the original production of the play with the goal of mimicking reality as closely as possible. His actors spoke simple, often mundane dialogue in monotone.

As he directs the play, Schwolsky hopes to take inspiration from Maxwell’s vision and expand upon it with his personal vision.

He collaborated with professional set designer Simon Harding to design the unusual two-tiered set. The audience will sit around and look up at a 5-foot-tall square platform in the center of the theater, where the action will take place.

Schwolsky hopes that Boxing 2000 will affect each audience member differently and make them ask questions about their own lives. “Anyone can see this show and come out thinking something different,” he reflects. “And that is fascinating to me.”