Since he was a child, Bronx-born fast talker Macedonio Guerra has had one thing on his mind: wrestling. Not your average, high school varsity team wrestling, mind you. Guerra is a patron of the highly televised, multi-million dollar phenomenon known as THE Wrestling, in all its pay-per-view glory. Guerra’s childhood dreams come true when he’s hired by THE Wrestling, though he quickly learns that life on the bottom rung of the entertainment ladder isn’t all its cracked up to be–especially when it means suffering the daily insults and wisecracks of the wrestler at the top of the ladder, Chad Deity. When he stumbles upon a charismatic young athlete with the gift of gab during a basketball game in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Guerra thinks he may have found the antidote to THE Wrestling’s stale plot-lines and his own stalled career. But his protégé, Vigneshwar Paduar, has aspirations of his own–and his attitude may get all parties involved knocked out of the ring.
ABOUT THE END OF THE PLAY:
Mace has finally had enough and punches Chad Deity and The Fundamentalist. EKO (Michael) takes a right jab then a left to the face and falls flat on his back. Moments later, the three come to and, after a few more lines, the performance ends.
Michael T. Weiss is perfectly pompous and blustery as Olson, the cynical bigot who runs mega-entertainment company THE Wrestling.
Mace isn’t the only guy around who talks in such a high-falutin’ way. Everybody in “Chad Deity” speaks in high-concept symbols, starting with the glamour boy Chad and the THE
Wrestling entrepreneur, Everett K. Olson (an impeccably unctuous Michael T. Weiss), also known as E.K.O.
There’s also first-class work from Usman Ally, as VP, especially when he becomes fed up with being used as an all-purpose symbol of anti-Muslim loathing; Terence Archie, oozing
self-adoration as Chad (in a moment of candor, he admits his real name is Darnell Deity); and Michael T. Weiss, superbly oily as EKO, chomping on his cigar and plotting his next strategic move.
Except for the ringmaster, Everett K. Olsen a.k.a. EKO (Michael T. Weiss personifying sleaze, greed and obtuseness), the men on stage actually do wrestle – very realistically so since
fight director David Wooley has heeded the playwright’s detailed and very explicit directions to make sure that “any wrestling moves used in the course of the play are indeed wrestling moves and not stage combat.”
Archie and Litke fit their roles terrifically well, emanating bravura and braggadocio with every bellow and body blow, but their characters don’t run deep; nor does EKO, though
Weiss plays the corporate flesh-presser with a gleefully smarmy obliviousness.
Michael T. Weiss is a ball of Satanic fire as the amoral CEO of the wrestling federation.
Once Mace takes VP in hand, teaching him basic wrestling moves and pitching him to Everett K. Olson (Michael T. Weiss, greasier than an oil slick), the brash promoter of a
hilariously over-the-top show called “THE Wrestling,” the boys quickly bond as buddies.
Michael T. Weiss plays Everett K. Olson, the money-hungry producer of THE WRESTLING who will stoop to anything, including exploiting racial stereotypes and stirring up political
aggression, to boost up ratings and make money. Weiss plays the role with bombastic humor.
Michael T. Weiss (probably best-known as the star of “The Pretender” on TV) does a wonderful turn as EKO, who is no more of a villain than anybody else who sees everything as a
Major case in point is the current black champion Chad Deity (Terence Archie), who knows only one killer move but otherwise boasts all the charisma needed to be a money
machine for the arrogant white CEO (Michael T. Weiss) of his wrestling organization.
Mendoza immediately brings VP to THE Wrestling promoter Everett K. Olson (Michael T. Weiss of “The Pretender” doing a shockingly perfect take-off of Vince McMahon), only to
learn that Olson, an old-school promoter, sees nothing more in VP than your traditional Middle Eastern wrestler.