The East Coast Brings Drama to LatinoLA

"The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" and "Ghetto Klown" bring on big laughs, deep thoughts, heavy beats

By Joaquin Andando
Published on LatinoLA: October 4, 2011

The East Coast Brings Drama to LatinoLA

In a world where entertainment centers (huge flat screens, external speakers, comfy sofas) fill up living rooms, some may think: "Why go out?" We've got Netflix, On Demand, premium channels, telenovelas ... it's way too easy to stay home and chill. It's practically a chore to get up, get dressed and drive down to a theater.

I'm not talking about the movies here, either. I mean the thee-ah-tuh ... plays, dramas, musicals ... where live people act out in front of other live people.

Two productions got me out the house this past weekend and they were well worth it.

I'm no theatrical critic, but I can tell you that both of these plays -- not your standard stuffy snooty superfluous three-act set-pieces -- were non-stop verbal and physical manifestations of an urban, East Coast vibe, packed with music, dancing, emotions, intrigue and goofiness.

Here's what the Geffen Playhous website says about: "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity":

Think pro-wrestling is all outrageous masks and pyrotechnics? Think again -- there's so much more in this 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist. "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" slams together thrilling spectacle, incredible characters and geopolitical allegory into an invigorating theatrical experience you can't find on pay-per-view. This smackdown of a play tackles racism, drop-kicks globalization and brings a championship tale into the ring. In wrestling, as in life, behind every winner lies the story of a really excellent loser.

And here's what the official website says about "Ghetto Klown":

"Ghetto Klown" is the next chapter in John Leguizamo's hugely popular personal and professional story. It follows in the unabashed, uncensored, and uninhibited tradition of his "Mambo Mouth," "Spic-O-Rama," "Freak," and "Sexaholixa Love Story." In Leguizamo's trademark style, the piece explodes with energy, leading audiences on a fever-pitch adventure and heating up the stage with vivid accounts of where he's been and the colorful characters who have populated his life. Leguizamo takes audiences from his adolescent memories in Queens to the early days of his acting career during the outrageous 80s avant-garde theatre scene, and on to the sets of major motion pictures and his roles opposite some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

I enjoyed both plays tremendously. They were both bold, in-your-face and thought-provoking. Pay attention, there's a lot going on with the videos and the audio and the lighting and the staging. But it's the stories and characters that are most compelling. The pride and sadness of Mace, the main character at the Geffen, and hilarity and pathos of John Leguizamo are compelling and captivating. Both plays lay out the souls of their respective writers. And the audiences are swept up in these imaginative worlds.

See them. Both. Before they go away. And that's all I've got to say.

"The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity," Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Avenue, L.A. 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Oct. 9 $47 - $77 (310) 208-5454 or www.geffenplayhouse.com Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

"Ghetto Klown," The Ricardo Montalb?ín Theatre, 1615 Vine Street, Hollywood. 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 5 p.m. Sundays. End. Oct. 16. $42.50 to $115; premium available. (800) 595-4849 or www.tix.com Running time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Search GoldStar.com for possible discount tix!

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