In The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Luis Galindo plays Macedonio “The Mace” Guerra, a fighter apparently put on earth to make the prettier, more crowd-pleasing wrestlers look good.
“He's a nobody wrestler. He's not a superstar. He's what's known in the wrestling world as a 'jobber,' which makes the baby face, the pretty star, look good,” Galindo says, adding that his character believes what he is doing is an art form, but that doesn't matter to anyone else.
“Taking on this part is no small endeavor,” Galindo says. "This is probably the hardest I 've worked on something in quite a long time because not only do I have to learn how to wrestle, but I have to get in shape. I'm a 42-year-old man. I've got to get in good enough shape to have a man who's six foot five body-slam me into the mat." In every performance, his opponent, played by Roc Living (not making that up), “power bombs” him twice.
“I encounter this young Indian kid who lives in Brooklyn, and he happens to be more charismatic than Chad Deity. Everything this kid touches turns to gold, so I figure he should be a wrestler,” Galindo says. “So I take him to my boss, and my boss says we'll make him the terrorist and we'll make you his manager – Che Chavez Castro. And the Indian kid becomes a Muslim fundamentalist.”
As director Josh Morrison explains, this Pulitzer Prize nominee by Kristoffer Diaz is not just a wrestling story, but one with much larger ramifications and one he has wanted to do for a while. “It's an American satire. The metaphor for the world of professional wrestling is a take on the American Dream, a very strong political message about how we put minorities in certain roles in American society.” Morrison says.
To present this regional premiere, Stages Repertory Theatre has partnered with Horsehead Theatre and Doomsday Wrestling which is coordinating the live wrestling that goes on in the show. “We wanted to try to create this immersive experience.” There will be a wrestling ring onstage and hip-hop music throughout the show.
“The biggest challenge is the wrestling aspect, making it safe. They have to do this five times a week and it's not like stage combat; they have to be in great shape. It's got a ballet sort of feel. They are really slamming each other,” Morrison says.
Performances are scheduled for October 14 through November 8 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 3 p.m. Sundays at Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-527-0123 or visit stagestheatre.com. $21 to $54.