The Assassin began its world premiere the week of January 18th at the Interact Theatre in Philadelphia to a thrilled and spellbound audience. The play portrays the compelling story of real life professional football stars Jack Tatum and Darryl Stingley of the National Football League (NFL).
The play was written by David Robson who after hearing about the death of Jack Tatum knew immediately the subject of his next play (Walsh, 2013). In 1978 Stingley was a rising star in the NFL. He was a wide receiver out of Purdue and was drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots. Almost simultaneously, Tatum, known as the Assassin, was a safety for the Oakland Raiders and was also drafted in the first round. He was known as one of the hardest hitters in the NFL. However, what Jack Tatum is remembered for is the hit he made on August 12, 1978 at the Oakland, California Coliseum that rendered Darryl Stingley paralyzed for life.
This emotional account was full of twists and turns and surprises at every interval. Although the play was a cast of two, Frank played by Brian Anthony Wilson and Lewis by Dwayne A. Thomas rendered performances that were so commanding it seemed like a cast of thousands.
The play unraveled the moving and surprising lives of these two athletes. It spoke of what could have been, unfinished business, words left unsaid and a meeting that just could not happen and the meeting that did take place. Darryl Stingley died in 2007 and Jack Tatum in 2010.
The Assassin is a step out of the headlines of the news of today. The questions arising from the recent deaths and injuries of the many professional football players bring the question of violence in sports to the forefront. Producing Artistic Director Seth Rozin, Director Seth Reichgott and Writer David Robson bring a timeless and moving narrative to the stage and make us take a deeper look into ourselves and how we view sports.
Powerful and moving, Assassin will run from January 18th to February 10th at the Interact Theatre in Philadelphia.