All last summer, I kept checking in on my buddy Kristoffer Diaz’s blog. I saw his Facebook, Twitter and Flickr updates about the Chicago production of his play, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. His play garnered a lot of well-deserved attention in Chicago which led to a short run in Philadelphia. Now you can catch a production in Minneapolis. Sadly, I’ve yet to see the play
None of this surprised me. I’ve been telling Kris for a long time (at least since ’04) that I thought he was a genius. On okayplayer.com he’d ask, “give me something to write about.” I’d offer up a word or two and he’d come back with a clever haiku or three. He called them “hailu,” because, you know I’m Cindylu. That summer, I took a three-week trip to Mexico. Kris asked me to write a haiku for him. I wrote 34 in 23 days. Later, he wrote the best thing anyone has ever written for me, “for cindylu (hailunares)”.
Needless to say, any news of Kris’ success makes me happy. I’m not like Morrissey at all, I love it when my friends become successful. This morning, I caught up on some news from yesterday and learned that Kris was a finalist of the Pulitzer.
LAT theater critic Charles McNulty weighs in on the board’s decision, lamenting that the finalists’ distance from NY (“Bengal” was initially produced in Culver City, “Chad Deity” in Chicago, and “In the Next Room” in Berkeley) ultimately hurt them.
Perhaps I should just be grateful for the board’s magnanimity in bestowing a drama prize at all. But though I’m not at liberty to disclose anything about our private deliberations, I haven’t signed a gag order as a theater critic. I’ll grant you it’s a strange job, but what’s the point of having it if you can’t advocate for finalists as talented as Rajiv Joseph’s “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” Kristoffer Diaz’s “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” and Sarah Ruhl’s “In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play”?
These works represent the new guard of American playwriting. And their authors — diverse in background and courageous in style — are discovering fresh ways of connecting politics and poetry onstage. They take their place with writers such as Christopher Shinn, Will Eno, Young Jean Lee and Tarell Alvin McCraney, to name just a few of those contemporary dramatists who care about theater as an art rather than as an expensive diversion. [link]
Not sure which makes me happier, to see my friend become [even more] successful or that’s it’s opening day at Dodger Stadium.