Curious Theatre launches it's fifteen season with the regional premiere of THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY playing now through October 13th. Puerto Rican professional wrestler is frustrated with his lot in life—which is being the guy who loses to cocky megastar Chad Deity. But when he and his Indian-American partner reinvent their wrestling personas as Muslim fundamentalist enemies to America, his career suddenly becomes very interesting indeed. Diaz creates a unique theatrical experience (including live wrestling!) that forces the audience to question the disturbingly persuasive power of ethnic stereotypes in our entertainment. This physically ambitious and energetic comedy has been produced across the country, placing as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
I must say that when I walked through that door, I was not expecting what was inside. I knew the play had something to do with wrestling, but when I saw that ring onstage and the guys going through their routine, I knew I was in for a whole new world that I had never been privy before. I have seen and mocked WWF on television and always just shrugged it off as melodrama in spandex, but Chad Deity really does have heart and completely draws you into the story. If there was ever an homage to the John Leguizamo process, this would be the one and it was a delight to watch a play exploring minorities. This show, like the fights we see on TV encourages audience participation and our audience ate it up! The depiction of the "fundamentalists" was comedy at its best and was so un-politically correct. This show may not be meant for an older crowd with the sound and light rock show, but believe me, this is one elaborate entrance that lives up to its name. Ultimately, Kristoffer Diaz wrote a winning underdog show that showed through great humor and heart the lost art to this style of wrestling.
Chad Deity (aka the Chocolate Adonis) played by Patrick Byas
was dumb, egotistical and hilarious at it, but played the character with such heart. He totally stole the show and the audiences hearts. I loved the inner turmoil from Akshay Kapoor who played the Indian playboy, VP. His struggle to find his own identity when his nationality is called into question was a very worthy subplot and was executed quite well. Bill Hahn
played his asshole, racist role as EKO with charm, and while his comments were at times shockingly absurd, this was a role that he had fun with. Ultamately, this show was really about everyone's favorite underdog/narrorator Mace played expertly by Michael Lopez
. Mace was absolutely captivating and carried the entire audience along the journey with a heartfelt pressence. He was just a joy to watch onstage and entranced me and the audience the entire time.
The set by designer Charlie Packard is so industrial brimming with levels of metal and chain link and I was so impressed by the ring that they transported into the theater. The collaboration with lighting designer Shannon McKinney
and sound and video program designer Brian Freeland was the perfect meeting of the minds. It was a light and video extravaganza that rocked that stage to the fullest degree and the hand-held camera effect made for a nice touch. I am sure that this was a unique challenge for costume designer, Ann Piano with the wrestling outfits but they were colorful and enhanced each character. You could tell that she had fun with the outrageous stereotypical "Fundamentalist" costumes. Director (aka Pimp Daddy) Chip Walton really captured the essence of this entire production and found amazing and diverse talent to absolutely delight the audience. I also have to commend the marketing department on some genius ideas for this show including tequila tastings, and taco food trucks on Fridays.
I have to say that I did not expect to like this show as much as I did, but it was simply a delight to watch about a topic that I never thought I would ever see on this award-winning stage! This is a show that you do not want to miss, so go and be surprised by the drama in the ring! THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY is slammin it at Curious Theatre now until October 13th. For tickets or more information, contact the box office at 303-623-0524 or online at www.curioustheatre.org. Curtain times are Thursday – Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. Curious Theatre is located at 1080 Acoma Street in Denver, CO.