Friday, March 2, 2012

A Shout Out to Actors’ Theatre of Louisville

      We saw The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz at ATL this past week and, even though it’s closed, I want to recognize it anyway.  Actors’ Theatre of Louisville has been one of the great incubators of new works through its annual Humana Festival, which plays throughout March and April.  Chad Deity is a recent work that was nominated for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize.  It lost to Next to Normal (we reviewed the excellent production we saw at Ensemble in the fall), but I think it’s a stronger literary work than Normal.  

Alex Hernandez as Mace with Dexter (foreground)
and Kamal Angelo Bolden as Chad Deity
      The problem it faces is that it is less likely to enter into the national repertory because it requires three actors that must plausibly resemble professional wresters and then actually
perform some of the tougher moves.  The cast was uniformly terrific, but I have to mention Alex Hernandez as Mace.  He replaced another actor in the role (when exactly I don’t know) and it’s a huge one.  He was a member of the intern company last season and has performed in New York.  He has the makings of a star both from his technical abilities and his physical ones.  Mace narrates and seems like he is the third banana to the other wrestlers, but he’s the one who finally explodes in telling the audience (theatre, live wrestling, and TV) how things really are.  But will his rational idealism win out?  

      All of the characters are much deeper and smarter than the masks they feel compelled to project to the fans for the sake of their industry and that is the metaphor about what has happened to politics and culture in the U.S.

The 36th Humana Festival of New American Plays runs through April 15, 2012.

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