Politics has become something of a religion for some folks, who argue for and against policy positions with the gravitas once afforded to ontological debates.
Fond though some might be of gazing in the mirror, it’s unlikely they’ll feel flattered by the reflection cast by “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” a play that’s both homage to wrestling as storytelling and metaphor for the fear mongering that saturates modern-day ideologies confusing hate for “other” with love of country.
Deity is portrayed by Jeremy Gillett, who nails the character’s narcissism while sporting a winsome smile with gold spandex, chains and dollar-sign medallion.
Stereotypes abound in Deity’s world, often punctuated by profanity and other offensive fare. It’s all accompanied by the feel of a real pro wrestling match televised for the masses — complete with over-the-top announcer, strobe lights, fog effects and graphics worthy of the Jumbotron.
Scenic design for “The Elaborate World of Chad Deity” is by Eric Beeck, and it’s exceptional. So too is lighting design by Jeff A. Davis of Davis Entertainment and sound design by Joey Trahan. Costume design by Daniel Chihuahua heightens the play’s comedic absurdity, as does media design by Jesse Cabrera.
This production feels particularly profound given the growing prevalence of people questioning others’ patriotism, the rise of our “reality TV” mentality, the drive to click rather than converse and the endless stream of speculation that passes for breaking news.
Stray Cat’s “Chad Deity” is a rare bit of theater that elicits uproarious laughter, gasps of horror and palms pressed to pursed lips in sheer shock. It’s a throw-down of all that’s awry in contemporary American culture — from emotional voyeurism to unapologetic hypocrisy.
THIS IS AN ABRIDGED VERSION OF THE ORIGINAL REVIEW - READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY BELOW
Wrestling with the deity