Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity: A Review

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity: A Review

Not World Wrestling Entertainment, Not American Wrestling Federation, Not Windy City Wrestling, but, simply, THE WRESTLING. Focused entirely on Good Versus Evil; The Wrestling metaphorically represents United States strength—it’s star--a muscularly-defined charismatic black man known as Chad Deity (Kamal Angelo Bolden). A man who has everything The Wrestling needs except actual wrestling skills. But that doesn’t matter, because scrawny talkative Puerto Rican Macedonia Guerra aka The Mace (Desmin Borges) exists within the ring to do all the heavy lifting. According to playwright Kristoffer Diaz, in wrestling “you can’t kick a guy’s ass without the help of the guy whose ass you’re kicking”.

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Victory Gardens Theater) is a humorous yet insightful look at mainstream United States stereotypes set within a wrestling federation that known nothing of subtlety or political correctness. When Macedonia meets his brother and his brother’s Indian friend, Vigneshwar Paduar, the two pair up as The Wrestling’s evil terrorists. The Puerto Rican as Mexican loyalist and Muslim sympathizer Che Chavez Castro and the Indian as Muslim extremist The Fundamentalist. The two are out to destroy the United States--symbolized through a brawny Chad Deity. Again—The Wrestling knows no boundaries—political or otherwise.

What makes this play brilliant is its representation of identity and its overarching theme of unity. The underlying social commentary that follows the three main wrestlers throughout the storyline is full of humor, yet that humor leads to serious issues of post-colonialism, racism, and socio-economic struggles. The play is able to bring these ideas to light through the metaphor within the metaphor of the wrestling ring. When the two “terrorist” (imagined through the “Mexican” and “Muslim”) fight against the U.S.A (represented at a strong black man) we see the minority with minority against minority that is so often played out in the streets. Instead of uniting over differences to take out the main power source (rich old white men) many take it out on one another.

Once people have moved up into the world of privilege i.e. upper-class, it’s hard for them to fight against racism, classism, and all the other isms—because they now “fit in”. We see this revealed through Chad Deity—money buys him ignorant happiness and submissiveness. Yet, we can’t let Macedonia off the hook either—he swallows the same system as well, thinking that one day he’ll be able to tell his own story the way he wants, that he’ll be able to alter the metaphor—not until Vigneshwar sleeper cell kick him in the face does reality set in.

The final outcome, perhaps not a revelation, but an interesting turn of events, does give the audience their ah-ha moment of clarity. It is a play to make you think, to make you grow, and to make you laugh. The story is fast-paced and full of adventurous fake-violence, shiny spandex and wit—a worthwhile play for everyone to see. It’s Not like World Wrestling Entertainment, not like American Wrestling Federation, not even like Windy City Wrestling, but, simply, just like THE WRESTLING a spectacular, mind- bending event for any evening. Open Now through November 1, 2009.

Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL

Buy tickets here

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