We already know that professional wrestling is pure theater—of the lowbrow kind. But there's intelligence in the theatricality of Kristoffer Diaz's The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, for which the stage is a wrestling ring.
It's true that metaphor is spelled with a capital "M" in Diaz's Pulitzer-nominated play, which not-too-subtly equates winning the championship belt with attaining the American Dream. Nevertheless, Diaz's commentary about American-style stereotyping, hero worship and media manufacturing is rich with unvarnished truth.
The cast at Ion Theatre Company, which is staging Chad Deity's San Diego premiere, is also championship-caliber, particularly Steven Lone as "Mace" Guerra, the story's narrator and the skilled wrestler who takes falls to prop up lesser-skilled but more charismatic wrestlers, such as the designated champ, Chad Deity (Vimel Sephus, stalwart in the role). Catalina Maynard and Claudio Raygoza co-direct with aplomb, and with the moments of audience participation elicited, you'll have fun and be cerebrally stimulated at the same time. Can't say that about WWF.
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity runs through Nov. 16 at BLKBOX Theatre in Hillcrest. $29-$35. iontheatre.com
The drag-fest that is She-Rantulas from Outer Space in 3D is so over the top, it might as well be in outer space. But the wild-eyed screams, broad sight gags and what-the-hell plot aren't much different than what you may remember from those beloved bad sci-fi flicks from the 1950s—you know, like The Attack of the 50-Foot Woman and It! The Terror From Beyond Space.
Ruff Yeager and Phil Johnson co-wrote She-Rantulas, with Yeager directing at Diversionary Theatre and Johnson, in '50s flip hairdo, starring as beleaguered housewife Betty. Melinda Gilb, Andy Collins and Fred Harlow contribute dual or, in Gilb's case, multiple roles, and Diversionary regular Tony Houck is achingly funny as Suzie, Betty's daughter-slash-She-Rantula. The alien antics are loud and go on a bit longer than need be in this one-act show, but wasn't that true with those old sci-fi pictures we now so romanticize? Besides, you couldn't get a 50-foot woman inside a theater.
She-Rantulas from Outer Space in 3D runs through Nov. 17 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. $25-$51. diversionary.org.
Drums in the Night: Bertolt Brecht's play was about a German soldier returning from World War I; UCSD's update is about a POW returning from Iraq, with a bad case of PTSD. Opens Nov. 6 at the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre at UCSD. theatre.ucsd.edu
The Gift Teller: Playwright, director and screenwriter Stephen Metcalfe's update of A Gift of the Magi gets a world premiere. Opens Nov. 9 at Scripps Ranch Theatre. scrippsranchtheatre.org
Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde: This is a staged reading of Moisés Kaufman's play about homosexuality and the court cases that led to the famous British playwright's descent from stardom. Presented by Looking Glass Theatre, it runs Nov. 8 and 9 at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Hillcrest. lookingglasssd.org
Much Ado About Nothing: This production of Shakespeare's comedy is jointly presented by The Old Globe Theatre and the University of San Diego. Opens Nov. 9 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
One Journey: A one-woman play, employing theater, poetry, music, dance and multimedia, about a mother and daughter who live on opposite sides of the Texas-Mexico border. It happens Nov. 6 at the Centro Cultural del la Raza in Balboa Park. centroculturaldelaraza.com
Potted Potter: A parody that squeezes all seven Harry Potter books into a little more than an hour's worth of theater, created by and starring British comic actors Daniel Clarkson and Jeff Turner. Presented by Broadway San Diego, it runs Nov. 6 through 10 at the Balboa Theatre, Downtown. broadwaysd.com
Tribute: A 51-year-old actor who's lived a carefree life learns he has leukemia and reconnects with the son that he's long neglected. Presented by Sullivan Players, it opens Nov. 9 at Swedenborg Hall in University Heights. facebook.com/sullivan.players
Venus in Fur: A writer-director who's created an adaptation of the novel Venus in Furs gets the tables turned on him by an actress who insists on reading for the lead role. Presented by San Diego Repertory Theatre, it opens Nov. 9 at the Lyceum Theatre at Horton Plaza, Downtown. sdrep.org
Broken Glass: In Arthur Miller's play set in 1930s New York, a doctor believes a woman's paralysis is all in her head, and as he treats her, aspects of her marriage are revealed. Through Nov. 10 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity: Ion Theatre's political satire finds a TV-wrestling promoter casting a protagonist wrestler's young Indian-American protégé as a terrorist character called The Fundamentalist. Through Nov. 16 at BLKBOX Theatre in Hillcrest. iontheatre.com
The Brothers Lipschitz: All we know about this one is that it was written by (and stars) Paul David Halem and is about two elderly brothers who, apparently, want to strangle each other. Through Nov. 17 at Broadway Theatre in Vista. broadwayvista.com
She-rantulas from Outer Space in 3D: A world-premiere comedy about an invading horde of mutant monsters and small-town mom who learns a horrible truth about her little daughter Suzie. Through Nov. 17 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. diversionary.org
Wit: An English professor dying from cancer reflects on her life during her final hours. Through Nov. 17 at Lamb's Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org
The Violet Hour: It's 1919, and a young publisher must to decide whether to release his friend's novel or his mistress' memoir. Enter a mysterious, future-seeing, paper-spewing machine. Through Nov. 23 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.org
Suds: The Rockin' '60s Musical Soap Opera: The story of a young woman looking for love in a Laundromat frames a soundtrack of '60s hits. Runs through Dec. 1 at Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com
Skinless: The opening play of Moxie Theatre's ninth season follows a student who bases her dissertation on an obscure horror and sci-fi writer and gets more than she bargained for. Through Dec. 8 at Moxie Theatre in Rolando. moxietheatre.com
Side Show: A musical based on a true story about conjoined twins and circus-freak-show performers Violet and Daisy Hilton, who find fame as a vaudeville act and search for true love. Through Dec. 15 at La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.org
Crime Pays: A radio game show with dastardly overtones, served up with dinner, is presented by Mystery Cafe at Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. mysterycafe.net