On July 12, I had the pleasure to attend this wonderful event at the beautiful Times Center. This year’s honor goes to Kristoffer Diaz for his play, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”. I was invited by Artistic Director of Castillo Theatre, Dan Friedman to represent the Young Playwrights of Castillo. It was great to see a fellow latino get honored by the New York Times. As a new playwright whose play was just recently produced, the timing to be invited to such an event couldn’t have been better. The New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award was established in 2009 to encourage and support American Playwrights whose work recently received its professional debut in New York.
Upon arriving at the Times Center I sat in the lobby with his parents and grandfather. (I had no idea at first.) His mother was so pleasant and talked about Kristoffer writing poems and stories since he was a kid. Before the ceremony began I was able to introduce myself to Kris and congratulate him. As we entered the theatre space I was in awe of the beauty of the great theatre space in the Times Building. Dan commented on how it would be great to do a production of “A MidSummer Night’s Dream” with the landscape in the background. The program began with Arthur Sulzberger Jr’s (Chairmen & Publisher of NYT) opening remarks followed by the presentation of the award. It was a treat when actor Desmin Borges performed the opening monologue of the play. He did an amazing job! I love seeing other actors kill the stage. The program closed with Scott Heller conducting an interview with Kristoffer on stage. The audience got an in-depth look at “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” and at the wrestling nerd that has written this play. “My first artistic love just happens to have been professional wrestling. I remember watching the original Wrestlemania on closed circuit television (and crying about how the US Express was cheated out of their tag team titles). In college, a friend of mine said “you’re a smart guy. How can you watch that crap?” And from there, this play was born. The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity attempts to experiment with form and content, mixing monologue, spectacle, and traditional narrative to explore what I think is a truly unique and often underutilized American art form.” – Kristoffer
Kristoffer holds a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, an MFA from NYU’s Department of Dramatic Writing, and an MFA from Brooklyn College’s Performing Arts Management program. Kristoffer’s play was produced by Second Stage Theatre and directed by Edward Torres here in NY last year. Which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009. The play is going on to Los Angeles in a couple weeks, followed by Boston and Dallas. Mr. Diaz hopes that by the end of the year the play will be published for folks to get their hands on to read. I hope so, and when it does, I know I will pick up a copy. I didn’t get a chance to see the show, but based on what I saw, the comedy, wit, and humility in his writing had me intrigued to see how this story unravels.
I hope to continue to see out of the box theatre being recognized in this way.