Playwright & wrestler Jason Calabrese on the success of CPW's "We Don't Play Fight"
- An exclusive interview with Jason Static about the theatrical end of his career
CPW's We Don't Play Fight is a one-of-a-kind theatrical production, to put it lightly. A family-friendly historical crossover show between traditional theater and professional wrestling, We Don't Play Fight is the creation of Brooklyn-based playwright Jason Calabrese, who has also wrestled under the name Jason Static.
We Don't Play Fight was first performed at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Florida in June 2016 to a nearly-sold-out house. Excellent reviews would follow up, as did mainstream coverage of the show. Additional performances of the show have taken place in other cities, although a return to Orlando is currently in the works as is a New York City-based production.
I had the pleasure of doing a Q&A with Jason Calabrese about We Don't Play Fight and more on behalf of Sportskeeda.
How would you describe the show to someone who didn't see it the first time around?
Jason Calabrese: I would go straight to the synopsis for the story details, however it’s two worlds working together sharing their respectable stages for the sake of good storytelling on a Saturday night!
Are there any major changes from the first version to the upcoming one?
Jason Calabrese: Honestly almost every version had a different spin on things. It’s not like your above average Broadway show of Hamilton or Dear Evan Hansen. This script has the ability to be flexible from show to show.
How much time is spent on rehearsing the play versus the wrestling?
Jason Calabrese: After casting calls are complete, actors are put together about six weeks before the show to start show preparations. The cast doesn’t need more than that because of the unique combination of talent working together on this production.
Have a lot of the participating wrestling talent been active in theater before?
Jason Calabrese: Very few, but on a few shows some of the talent have been taking their turns to do double duty. Actor Sean Stewart participated in a special "Actor versus Wrestler Match" at The Orlando Fringe Festival! Also professional wrestlers Jon Cruz, Lucy Blossom, Joey Mayberry, Salina De La Renta and The Late Miraculous Rex Bacchus have been in rehearsals with active actor roles as well.
Have you encountered a lot of wrestling fans within the theatrical world?
Jason Calabrese: Absolutely! Regular wrestling fans have respectfully sat through the performing arts portion, and theater fans have been impressed with the wrestlers as well. Thankfully, everybody went home happy!
Orlando is not just home to this production but also NXT and other WWE-related work. What is it that you feel makes Orlando such a great wrestling town?
Jason Calabrese: I believe the “O” in Orlando stands for opportunity, and the platform to progress in this one of a kind business is right here. Besides Disneyland, dreams come true in the squared circle!
Show aside, what are you currently working on?
Jason Calabrese: Right now the show has taken my overall time. A lot of good stuff coming in the next few months, which I can’t really say right now for legal reasons.
Finally, Jason, any last words for the kids?
Jason Calabrese: When it comes to your dreams, NEVER stop being a kid. Surround yourself with a great positive crowd. Work smarter not harder, and always self-educate yourself about a Positive Mental Attitude! If you need someone to talk to, I am here: Wedontplayfightcpw@aol.com.