The Santaland Diaries: One-Man Play Shows What’s It Like to be an Elf on Christmas
When the mall elf takes your child and helps them to Santa’s lap, ever wonder what’s really going through their minds? There’s a funny (and dark) play for that.
Humorist David Sedaris answers a bit of this question in his Santaland Diaries, a collection of essays about spending time working for a Macy’s Santa in New York City. The essays were adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello. This show is basically a long collection of rants and anecdotes by Crumpet, a man who takes up work as an elf at the mall, about the inanity of the Christmas spirit as it gets digested by consumerism, and other things.
Award-winning Michael McKeever delivers a non-stop thrill ride of humor-laced stories, sometimes dark and sometimes cheery. McKeever performed the piece before at the Zoetic Stage in Miami, and recently worked for Caldwell’s productions of Stuff and Distracted. Award-winning director Kim St. Leon (Brooklyn Boy, “Lost Everything”) constructed a worthwhile and captivating show.
Don’t expect to sit silently at this show, as McKeever draws you in enthusiastically to partake in the holiday spirit, chanting Santa’s name. Otherwise, the majority of the play is Crumpet’s introspection and lucid digestion of the world he’s entered — out of financial necessity — and how he makes sense of it and himself. Crumpet routinely shows us the various characters he encounters by acting them out, from a motivating supervisor to an old woman to a woman trying to photograph her children.
Beware Crumpet’s politically incorrect cynicism and very mild profanity if those things bother you, as he tends to cross such topics as racism and chauvinism. There’s even a little anecdote about a young Snowball who unknowingly seduces some men and then misunderstands their approaches — all in good taste, kinda.
Crumpet’s co-working elf Elfina (Sheri Wieseman), who regularly provides our storyteller with “martini” glasses, provides timely relief from Crumpet’s banter and eventually counts the show down.
The stage and lighting draw the show into perfect focus, keeping your eyes on Crumpet the entire time. During the darker moments, you’ll find yourself floating along with Crumpet’s emotional stirrings, the dark red lights around you affecting it all. From giant candy canes to stuff animals to Santa’s giant chair, the stage is set for Crumpet’s pseudo-confessional.
See McKeever again in a collection of his own short plays in January, when he brings The Whole Caboodle to The Studio.
For more information, go to www.paradeproductions.org.
If you go
Through Dec. 23
The Studio at Mizner Park
201 Real Plaza
Boca Raton, FL 33432