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The elaborate entrance of playwright Kristoffer Diaz

September 18, 2010 | 10:30 am

Getprev-10 Kristoffer Diaz explained some of the influences on his playwriting to David Rooney during a recent interview over cheeseburgers in New York City: professional wrestling and the HBO series "The Wire."

“What I see wrestling doing is masterfully telling 10 or 12 stories at any time,” said Diaz. “Any one event that’s happening is impacting all these other stories."

"That’s the thing ‘The Wire’ did so remarkably," Diaz continued. "You’re following the story of one guy, but everything he does triggers a million other things.”

Rooney says that kind of layered narrative is evident in Diaz’s breakout play, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” which premiered in Chicago last fall and moved to off-Broadway, where it drew enthusiastic reviews and a spot on the Pulitzer short list. And it can be seen in an earlier play, “Welcome to Arroyo’s,” which opens Sept. 25 at San Diego’s Old Globe.

Old Globe executive producer Lou Spisto told Rooney: “When I read ‘Chad Deity,’ I thought Kris was fiercely political, and uncompromisingly so, but he had a heart and was not cynical. He’s very strong, very masculine in his writing, but he also understands at the end of the day that he has to reach an audience.”

Find out more about Diaz in Sunday's Arts and Books section.

--Kelly Scott

Above: Diaz at the Old Globe. Credit: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times.