Updated 05/21/2010 02:57 PM
NY1 Theater Review: "The Elaborate Entrance Of Chad Deity"
A finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Kristoffer Diaz's "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" is currently playing off-Broadway at Second Stage Theater. NY1's Roma Torre has a review.
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"The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" is centered in and around a wrestling ring but it's really all about capitalism and the American way. Grand themes certainly but playwright Kristoffer Diaz takes them on with tremendous energy and insight. And while the play doesn't quite maintain its lofty ambitions, the outrageous production featuring kick-butt performances is a knockout.
His name is Macedonio Guerra. Hailing from the Bronx he's a poor kid who knows the score almost too well... and his love of wrestling lands him a job as Mace, a secondary fighter whose job is to get beaten up by the star wresters so that they can look good. Desmin Borges makes an impressive NY stage debut with his amazing rap soliloquies. Carrying the bulk of the lines, he spews them out as if hammering punches on a speedbag.
And what he says is stunningly astute. The playwright clearly has a lot on his mind as he turns the wrestling arena into a shrewd metaphor for the sociopolitical dynamic of this country. Broken down to its basics, wrestling, he seems to be saying, is all about manipulating the market for profit. To do that the industry needs heroes and villains; making certain the heroes always win. And as long as spectators have fighters to root for and boo, money will be made.
That's where Chad Deity comes in -- a gorgeous man, with bulging muscles who stands for America's winning values. He's the chief investment behind promoter Everett K. Olson's fictitious T-H-E Wrestling Organization. And to keep him on top, Olson keeps coming up with archrival caricatures like Che Chavez Castro, a Mexican-Cuban communist, and a Muslim terrorist figure called "The Fundamentalist," who's really an Indian kid from Brooklyn.
If all of this seems culturally offensive it's intended. That's the point and it scores, thanks in large part to Edward Torres's seamlessly taut direction and superb production values featuring clever visuals and authentic fight choreography.
The entire show is hyper paced as if on steroids and it feels both exhilarating and exhausting. Only at the end does it lose momentum when it seems to run low on creative energy. But until then, "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" is quite a winner.