Theater & Performing Arts, Comedy

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity

When: Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sun., Aug. 26, 2 p.m., Tuesdays, 7 p.m. and Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Sept. 30 2012

For a play about the flamboyant, tawdry world of televised pro wrestling, this new work by Kristoffer Diaz -- incubated through the Global Age Project at Aurora Theatre -- is heavy on social commentary, and remarkably void of action. That said, there are a few lovely "power bombs" and dramatically feigned TKOs choreographed by Dave Maier, who also plays the folksy wrestler Billy Heartland, all bolstered by Nina Ball's ambitious set design, which includes a wrestling ring and two video screens that grant each character his own video montage. Jim Gross, who handled the video work, didn't shy away from all the sleazier tropes of wrestling, including dollar bills and bikini-clad women, which add to the play's razzle-dazzle. That said, it's ultimately a morality tale, and Diaz tends to emphasize exposition over action. Tony Sancho, who plays the protagonist, Macedonio Guerra, delivers long monologues about race, patriotism, and commercialism in the pro-wrestling arena. Even with Jon Tracy's deft stagings, it's very much a pedagogical play. Through September 30 at Aurora (2081 Addison St., Berkeley). $32-$50. 510-843-4822 or

Rachel Swan

Price: $32-$60

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