The heavyweight boxer born Cassius Clay rechristened himself Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1965, dismissing Clay as his “slave name” and thus becoming an icon of black power. The comedian Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Petty—generally regarded as the first black movie star—took the name Stepin Fetchit, finding fame in the late 1920s and early ’30s by adopting an onscreen persona of grotesque physical laziness that black leaders condemned even then as a damaging and offensive racial caricature. And yet the two men forged an unlikely friendship in the ’60s, when Ali was in his prime and Fetchit’s career was essentially finished. A photograph of Fetchit sitting beside Ali at a press conference decades ago caught the attention of playwright Will Power. Power’s fictionalized account of the men’s real-life bond, Fetch Clay, Make Man, debuted in 2010. It’s set in 1965, as Ali is preparing for his heavily hyped rematch with Sonny Liston. He prevails upon Fetchit, who’d been acquainted with the black heavyweight champ Jack Johnson before Ali was born, to reveal the secret of the long-dead champ’s “anchor punch.” What emerges instead is an account of the compromises and indignities that attended Fetchit’s rise to prominence in Hollywood, and a reassessment of his place in the world as the “black power” movement was becoming a subject of national conversation. Oct. 10–Nov. 2 at Round House Theatre. $10–$50.