Meet Harsh Gagoomal
Meet Harsh Gagoomal, an Indian American actor in "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" written by Kristoffer Diaz and directed by Jeremy Aluma for Red Theater. This thrilling play won the Obie Award, the National Latino Playwriting Award, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" drop-kicks and body-slams its way into an intimacy with Macedonio Guerra, a professional “fall guy” as culture and race are distorted and deranged in the name of selling tickets to white bread Americans. Tickets to this exciting and important play are donation based and can be purchased here. The play closes September 16, 2017.
What's your personal story?
My life's journey has taken me to quite a few places as a third culture Indian kid, having been born in New York yet having spent the majority of my adolescence in Manila, Philippines. It was only after graduating high school that I moved back to the United States where I attended Emerson College ('13) in Boston. After graduation, I spent much of my time acting and directing in the region with a particular focus on developing new plays and cultivating stories that had some sense of social consciousness. Stories that I've been extremely passionate about sharing have been those concerned with belonging, xenophobia, homelessness, and sexual assault. As an artist, it's always been my goal to tell stories that have larger implications than mere entertainment, which is why moving to Chicago just over two months ago and getting to jump into The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity has been such a blessing!
What's your character's story in "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity"?
The story of my character, Vigneshwar Paduar (otherwise known as VP), is that of an young, affluent Indian-American Brooklynite who captivates Mace (our protagonist) with his charisma and ability to defy expectations about how people see his lanky brown existence in the world. VP is a smooth talker who can trash talk and pick up girls in six different languages, backing it all up with timely no look passes on the basketball court and multiple ripple-effect orgasms in the bedroom. As a solo-act for the entirety of his life, VP finds in Mace a sense of community and brotherhood as well as the offer of a new challenge that awaits him in the world of professional wrestling. The only catch is that both Mace and VP are given terrorist gimmicks upon arrival that they can only try to make the best out of. In his attempt to take up the challenge and rip the terms of it to his own fashionable shreds, VP runs into the status quo that is Chad Deity, a man who has no problem letting VP and Mace known about the pecking order in place.
What challenges does your character face telling this story?
I'd say that one of the main challenges VP faces is his attempt to maintain his sense of self - his authenticity and self-respect - as he and Mace are forced down a spiraling path of caricature and imposed decisions that challenge any sense of originality and change they hoped to create. This is made especially harder with Mace's inability to speak up and defend their work, leaving VP to fend for himself at various points.
How does the character overcome those challenges?
VP attempts to overcome the challenges that face him by defying expectations any way he knows how, verbally at first, and then ultimately, physically - by waking up Mace in the harshest way possible (no pun intended) in order to spur him to tell his truth.
Any other comments?
This is a story ya'll definitely don't want to miss! I hope to see you there! :)