We already know that professional wrestling is pure theater, of the low-brow kind. But there’s intelligence in the theatricality of Kristoffer Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, in which the stage is a wrestling ring. It’s true that metaphor is spelled with a capital M in Diaz’s Pulitzer-nominated play, which none-too-subtly equates winning the championship belt with attaining the American Dream. Nevertheless, Diaz’s commentary about American-style stereotyping, hero worship and media manufacturing is rich with unvarnished truth. The cast at ion theatre, which is staging Chad Deity’s San Diego premiere, is also championship caliber, in particular Steven Lone as “Mace” Guerra, the story’s narrator and the skilled wrestler who takes falls to prop up the lesser skilled but more charismatic, as with the designated champ, Chad Deity (Vimel Sephus, stalwart in the role). Catalina Maynard and Claudio Raygoza co-direct with aplomb, and with the moments of audience participation elicited, you’ll have fun and be cerebrally stimulated at the same time. Can’t say that about WWF.
David L. Coddon is theater critic for San Diego CityBeat