By Kristoffer Diaz.
Directed by Jeremy Aluma.
Produced by Red Theater Chicago.
At Strawdog Theatre, Chicago.
Physically challenging satire of wrestling unfolds into a winner!
Somehow the creatives at Red Theater Chicago delivered a comical yet physically demanding satirical parody of wrestling and a unique take on the American Dream. From the players warming up the audience to groan and cheer to the wrestlers taking prat falls every time the cross the ropes of the full-sized ring, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is two hours of entertaining theatre. This comic satire works better on the intimate staging of Strawdog’s new digs on west Bernice street.
This non-Equity production is technically wrestling-authentic, and it is a skilled piece of storytelling. The press notes say it best:
“Chad Deity is an American satire set in the world of television wrestling. The play drop-kicks and body-slams its way into an intimacy with Macedonio Guerra, ( the terrific Alejandro Tey) a professional “fall guy” as culture and race are distorted and deranged in the name of selling tickets to white bread Americans.”
“How does one pursue the “American Dream” in a country that refuses to offer opportunity indiscriminately? That is the question at the heart of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, a flashy American satire set in the professional entertainment wrestling world. We follow Macedonio Guerra, an excellent Puerto Rican wrestler, as he rises from the bottom of the pecking order. In this interactive physical comedy, Mace talks directly to the audience as fans in his arena, drawing the viewer into the struggle, joy, and heart of the story. The play dissects race, xenophobia, ego, and our moral compass – topics even more relevant now than when it premiered eight years ago.” This is an accurate assessment.
The story is a cartoon-like fable of the over-hyped world of phony wrestling that degrades that sport turning it into a circus of ugly characters. We meet the egotistical Chad Deity (Semaj Miller)–the current champ as he body slams Guerra every week. The two seem dedicated to respect the traditions and practices of rigged sport. Ha? The satire is done with immense over kill as playwright Kristoffer Diaz pushes things when Guerra discovers a most charismatic hip-hop Brooklyn kid of Indian (think India) decent.
Vigneshwar Paduar (Priyank Thakkar) and the manager, EKO (Mickey O’Sullivan) together with Guerra discover their ticket to the big-time of pay-per-view TV as the two become terrorists–Guerra as a Mexican terrorist and Thakkar as a Fundamentalist terrorist. Only Chad Deity’s ego suffers as the terrorists become huge.