Thursday, May 20, 2010

Theater Review - The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity

THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY performed by 2econdStageTheatre in NYC, written by Kristoffer Diaz and directed by Edward Torres; running until June 20th

My preconceived idea about this play is that I wouldn’t like it. Just the title of THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY accompanied by the heavily-testosteroned African American wrestler on the cover of the playbill made me feel like I was about to walk into one of those sports biopics along the lines of ROCKY; and while I actually enjoyed watching ROCKY, the thought of enduring such a rah-rah yay-for-everything-in-the-boxing-ring story from the second row of a theater was building up a bit of a dread factor.

However, the title and picture was misleading.

This play was more of a cynical and humorous look of the world of sports television behind the scenes. In fact, THE WRESTLING (title of the television show that this play is about) is more along the lines of one of those reality TV shows that in all actuality has very real reality involved.

Everything is larger than life in the arena of THE WRESTLING. Complete with strobe lights and flash and live on-camera action, the show provides plenty of eye candy, successfully invoking the tacky glamour of the sports world. But not all is as it would seem. Chad Deity (Terence Archie), the star wrestler of the show and parody of Muhummad Ali at the height of his fame, in truth sucks as a wrestler, having the charisma and the body but no real ability. Macedonio Guerra (Desmin Brooks), a regular on the show, gets paid to lose all the matches for a living in order to make the “stars” like Chad Deity look good. When Vigneshwar Paduar, an Indian basketball player from Brooklyn, gets a job on THE WRESTLING, all bets are off as the status quo gets shaken up.

Michael T. Weiss plays Everett K. Olson, the money-hungry producer of THE WRESTLING who will stoop to anything, including exploiting racial stereotypes and stirring up political aggression, to boost up ratings and make money. Weiss plays the role with bombastic humor. I always get a kick out of seeing him play one of the bad guys after so many years of watching his heroic roles such as Mike Horton of DAYS OF OUR LIVES and Jarod of THE PRETENDER. By the by, Michael has a role in the upcoming film, SEX AND THE CITY 2.

The rest of the cast was brought to NYC from Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago and reeked of macho energy as well as excellent comic timing.

An edgy comedy reflecting on the absurdity of the age we live in…

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