You have to figure that a playwright who has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize probably knows a thing or two about telling a compelling story, right? So what particular form of storytelling has writer Kristoffer Diaz called the “best of what television, theater, sports, soap operas, improv and sketch has to offer?”
The "sport" is in the spotlight in Diaz's "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity," a surprisingly complex and nuanced valentine to wrestling that takes on everything from the confines of race and class in America to the inevitable compromises an artist must make to hit it big. The show is currently running in Boston thanks to Company One.
The play takes place in a wrestling ring. And the ring isn’t just a metaphor, though it is. It’s also an actual wrestling ring. With real wrestling. And I don’t mean Olympic-style wrestling. I mean Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, WWE-style wrestling. Here's a taste:
If wrestling and the theater seem like strange bedfellows, consider this: Everyone from arts advocates to philanthropists, even city officials are continually asking, “how do can we get younger and more diverse audiences interested in the theater?" Perhaps the answer is to—as the saying goes—fish where the fish are. When you look at the numbers, wrestling's audience...is exactly what the theater needs.
I sat down with Company One artistic director Shawn LaCount and star of the show Ricardo Engermann to discuss bringing a show like this to the stage in Boston. We also touched on the skills of Randy "Macho Man" Savage, memorizing more than 1,000 lines and a whole lot more. You can listen to the entire conversation above.