Deborah & Howard Goodman
Ellen & Barry Levine
Cindy & Stephen Snow
BAY AREA PREMIERE
STARTS August 24
- In The News
- Program Notes
In wrestling, as in life, behind every winner lies a really excellent loser. This smart, hilarious powerslam of a play features Macedonio “The Mace” Guerra, a middle rank Puerto Rican pro-wrestler who’s made a career of being that loser. He thinks he’s found his ticket to the big time in a charismatic Indian kid from Brooklyn whom he recruits as the perfect foil to wrestling star Chad Deity. But when their wrestling rivalry is used to exploit racial stereotypes to raise ratings, Mace wonders: is swallowing his integrity too high a price for the rewards of the media spotlight? Jon Tracy directs this Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie Award-winning critique of pop culture and political correctness that “has the delicious crackle and pop of a galloping, honest-to-God, all-American satire” (The New York Times).
Runtime: Approximately 2 hours including one 10 minute intermission.
Disclaimers: For Mature Audiences Only
San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group
The Huffington Post
- Rod Gnapp* - Everett K. “EKO” Olson/Ring Announcer
- Nasser Khan - Vigneshwar “VP” Paduar
- Dave Maier* - The Bad Guy/Billy Heartland/Old Glory
- Beethovan Oden* - Chad Deity
- Tony Sancho* - Macedonio “The Mace” Guerra
- Nina Ball - Set Designer
- Kurt Landisman+ - Light Designer
- Angela Nostrand* - Stage Manager
- Maggie Whitaker - Costume Designer
- Mia Baxter, Seren Helday - Properties
- Jessica Heidt - Casting Director
- Cliff Caruthers+ - Sound Designer
- Jim Gross - Video Designer
- Dave Maier* - Fight Director
Wrestlemania Through the Ages
by Josh Costello, Literary Manager
Human beings have been wrestling—and have been entertained by wrestling— throughout recorded history. The spectacle of two human bodies engaged in direct physical struggle has always fascinated and inspired us. The Greeks formalized the rules of wrestling and made it an Olympic event in 708 BCE—but references to wrestling as public spectacle appear as far back as The Iliad and the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Human beings have been acting out stories for each other throughout history as well. Over the past century or so, professional wrestling has come to rely more and more on story and character. Athleticism and violence are still central to the appeal, but today’s stadium-filling, pay-per-view, professional wrestling events also tell intricate stories with fascinating characters. Like the commedia performers of Renaissance Italy, professional wrestlers improvise within a predetermined structure, delivering speeches and performing physical feats in service of a story.
Competitive wrestling still exists in our culture (in the Olympics, for example, and in school programs), but professional wrestling has taken a different path, moving so much in the direction of theatre that in the 1980s World Wrestling Federation president Vince McMahon coined the term “sports entertainment” to describe his product. With The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, playwright Kristoffer Diaz takes this a step further, bringing together the spectacle of professional wrestling with the language and intimacy of live theatre.
ca.1194–1184 BCE The Iliad - Odysseus wrestles Ajax to a draw as a part of the funeral games for Patroclus.
Ancient Rome - Middle Ages Wrestling matches delight audiences in ancient Rome, and matches featuring local champions continue through the Middle Ages.
708 BCE Wrestling is added to the Olympic games.
648 BCE Pankration, a more violent and modern form of wrestling with less restrictions (only biting and eye-gouging are forbidden), appears at 33rd Olympiad. Pankration is said to have been invented by ancient Greek heroes such as Theseus and Heracles.
1599 AD Shakespeare includes a wrestling match in As You Like It.
1600s Sporting events are slow to gain popularity in New England due to the Puritans' general distrust of secular entertainment.
1776 George Washington promotes wrestling to encourage his soldiers' physical fitness during the American Revolution.
- Irish immigrants to the United States contribute to a rise in wrestling's popularity.
- Young Abraham Lincoln fights in 300 matches.
- Civil War soldiers hold wrestling matches to relieve the tedium of camp life.
- Wrestling exhibitions are popular at traveling carnivals, complete with colorful characters with their own storylines. By the 1880s, matches seem to have become largely staged as opposed to true competitions.
1920s The advent of "Slam-Bang Western Style Wrestling," increasing the pace of matches and adding flashier moves such as body slams. A group of promoters known as The Gold Dust Trio retains wrestlers (such as Ed "Strangler" Lewis) on longer contracts, enabling more involved feuds, storylines, and character development. Outcomes are predetermined, with heavy emphasis on dramatic finishing moves.
1950s The advent of televised wrestling. Gorgeous George dominates the ring with his flamboyant moves and entrances set to music.
1980s Vince McMahon expands the WWF nationally, coins the term "sports entertainment."
1985 First annual Wrestlemania, a national pay-per-view event, features appearances by Liberace and Muhammad Ali as well as the top wrestlers of the day.
1990s Wrestlemania and the WWF continue to dominate the national wrestling scene, featuring stars such as The Undertaker, Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock Storylines and character development -- feuds, switching sides, backstage drama -- become more central.
1995 Beginning of the Monday Night Wars; television shows from the WWF and Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW) compete for viewers on Monday nights.
2002 WWF changes its name to WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) to avoid legal troubles with the World Wildlife Fund.
2004 Mark Compani makes his WWE debut as Muhammad Hassan, an Arab-American character that would go on to inspire considerable controversy (as well as a mention in The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity).
Now WWE has gone PG, attempting to increase its appeal to women and children.