Well, Idris found out about my blog, so I’ve got to be more careful about what I say. Hopefully he doesn’t find my secret blog where I just complain about him–no one tell him where that one is.
Anyway, today we read a play called The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. It’s by a guy called Kris Diaz who we’ll be Skyping with tomorrow (what! what school do I even go to where we get to talk to Pulitzer-nominated playwrights like it’s nothing?) and it’s about wrestling. Sort of. It’s a monologue-heavy, direct-address, 4th-wall-shattering, New-York-Times-infuriating play about identity and cultural appropriation and misinterpretation and stereotypes and all that great stuff that gets you nominated for a Pulitzer.
I was so lucky that my friend James turned down Idris’s casting call, because it meant I got to read for the main character, Macedonio Guerra. Macedonio (Mace) grew up in the Bronx watching AWA wrestling and dreaming of the day when he could “tell a perfect story.” Mace talks about how wrestling might be fake and contrived, but how that doesn’t make it any less of an art form. He compares it to ballet, where (paraphrasing here) you know the swan will die from the beginning, but you watch anyway. Wrestling as an American cultural institution is often seen as a celebration of all America shouldn’t be: vapid, fake, garish, what have you. I’m definitely guilty of thinking these things myself. But after reading this play and getting an insight into the hopes and dreams of a man in love with wrestling, I think I feel differently. Maybe. I’m about to look up videos of the superkick. I’ll know then if I’m barking up the right tree.
That, though, is the mark of a great play in my mind. I talked about this phenomenon in my post on Hit the Wall. Even though I have little to nothing in common with the characters on the surface, I still feel them and empathize with them. They still ring these bells in my mind that makes them so familiar to me. Chad Deity was able to do that for me, and that makes it worthy of its accolades, no matter what that NY Times critic has to say about it.