Talking Back

Not many emerging playwrights would take on a New York Times critic, but Kristoffer Diaz, author of the Curious season opener, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, had no qualms about rebutting a blog post by Charles Isherwood.

Isherwood had complained about the number of contemporary plays where characters break the fourth wall to speak directly to the audience, and had cited Chad Deity -- which deals with a Puerto Rican wrestler -- in particular. Diaz responded with a body slam. He said that many younger playwrights are influenced by African-American, Asian, Latino, feminist and hip-hop traditions, all of which reject the fourth wall. In these days of blogs, polls and tweets, media conversations are two-way, Diaz said, “And we’ve got an artform that’s absolutely best suited to fulfill that need.”

Director Chip Walton intends to honor that approach, and he's brought in local wrestlers for guidance. “From the moment the audience walks in, it’ll feel more like a wrestling event -- or a rock concert -- than theater,” he says. “For about ninety minutes, you think this is just a fun, unusual evening, but the last part becomes really pointed about cultural and racial stereotypes. It blindsides you.”

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity runs August 30 through October 13, at Curious, 1080 Acoma Street; tickets are $25 to $45. For more information, call 303-623-0524 or log on to
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Sept. 1. Continues through Oct. 13, 2012

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Juliet Wittman is an investigative reporter and critic with a passion for theater, literature, social justice and food. She has reviewed theater for Westword for over a decade; for many years, she also reviewed memoirs for the Washington Post. She has won several journalism awards and published essays and short stories in literary magazines. Her novel, Stocker's Kitchen, can be obtained at select local bookstores and on Amazon.
Contact: Juliet Wittman