Glenn Davis, left, and Chris Perfetti perform in Rajiv Joseph’s “King James” at the Mark Taper Forum in June. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Arts and Entertainment

Review: ‘King James’ at the Mark Taper Forum

"King James" is a play about two friends navigating friendship and their growing appreciation of LeBron James as their role model.
<a href="" target="_self">Jolie Wang</a>

Jolie Wang

November 4, 2022

As an aspiring actress, I am constantly looking for more ways to improve my techniques. Whether it’s how I speak a line or convey an emotion, I am always watching other actors for inspiration. I was particularly enlightened when I watched “King James,” a play written by Rajiv Joseph, which is a story that brings two strangers together through their shared admiration of LeBron James. 

I had the joy of watching this play at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The play was directed by Kenny Leon, starring Glenn Davis and Chris Perfetti. Together on stage, Davis and Perfetti navigated through their friendship and appreciation of LeBron James, their role model.

First off, one thing that I found interesting about King James was the number of scenes. Typically, as an audience member, I expect multiple scenes and set changes (background) to really get an idea of the story. However, in “King James”, there was only one set change. There were fewer scenes than I expected, but the story was still conveyed nevertheless. 

I also expected more actors. I honestly thought that there would be someone portraying LeBron James. The two actors, Davis and Perfetti, amazed me with their fluidity and connection throughout the few, but long scenes. Every word, action, and breath seemed so in place, and I could so clearly identify the characters.  Every movement they made seemed so natural. It almost felt like I was imposing on a private conversation between two people. From Davis’ strong words to Perfetti’s nail biting, I was able to watch real people onstage, and it was a joy.

I also greatly enjoyed the set design and attention to detail. When the crew flipped the stage, I was wowed by what I saw. The antique store had so many knick-knacks here and there that were all used to tell the story in some way. From the stuffed animal heads to the large globe, each furniture piece was utilized. What I want to say is that I absolutely loved the set designs, even though there were only two.

The ending pose for “King James” blew me away. The clapping, the pose, the lighting, and even the breath the actors simultaneously took made everything feel so magical. Even though it was a scene between two grown men trying to throw a ball of crumpled paper into the trash, there was something so fascinating about the way they executed the game.

Overall, watching “King James” was a wonderful experience. I loved watching the actors, Glenn Davis and Chris Perfetti, being so natural on stage and truly breathing life into their characters, both figuratively and literally. It has really inspired me to fully allow my entire body, heart, and soul to be fully possessed by my acting.