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December 8, 2008

8 Reindeer for 7 Santas

Posted by Erin Race December 08, 2008 11:32AM

Did you hear? Rarely Done is going to present The 8 Reindeer Monologues AND The 7 Santas every night of the run - essentially 2 shows for 1 price. Thanks Rarely Done!
For starters, I just need to establish that I love Rankin Bass Christmas specials. And these are used as the pre-show entertainment. Thanks Rarely Done!

You know Dasher and
Dancer and Prancer, et al.
But what's real story?

Is Santa a perv?
Was Vixen attacked? Rudolph
Knows truth from that night...

J Brazill starts off telling Dasher's tale. He's the leader, numero uno, and probably doles out some tough love to keep the rest in line, but what happened is too much for even him. Then there is Cupid, played by Alan Stillman, the reindeer equivalent of Perez Hilton. Prancer, aka Hollywood, is just jealous that Rudolph's movie gets more attention than his. Played by Geno Parlato, he is a diva extraordinaire. David Minikheim's Blitzen is a militant man-hater threatening to strike if charges are dropped against Santa.

The Buddhist of the group is Comet, a good reindeer gone wrong. Chris James tells of Santa saving him from his vices and Comet being forever grateful. Dancer (Jodi Bova) tells us of her initial interview with Santa, haggling over vacation, holidays and maternity leave. She describes her previous experience in the reindeer ballet, but hints that she too may be another one of Santa's victims. Jordan Glaski plays Rudolph's demanding father Donner with some guilt that he didn't stop the special attention Rudolph got from Santa.

The last reindeer we hear from is Vixen. Aubry Luddington-Panek is decked out in leather pants (as alamo would say, HOTTTT!). Her line "helpless female or the wench that stole Christmas" says it all. You want to believe that she wouldn't lie about being attacked, but you also can't believe Santa Claus would do such a thing. It gets heavy here if you start thinking about them as people. We will never know what really happened that night.

After a brief intermission (and more Rankin Bass specials!) we get 7 Santas. Here's the haikus:

Mrs. Claus Rehab
Center for addict Santas
Group Therapy Night

Each Santa's trials
And tribulations are told.
Start healing process.

There are several depictions of Santa Claus included here. There's the alcoholic mall Santa (Red - David) reminiscent of John Belushi's from this SNL commercial. There's Claus (J), who seems to have invested heavily in the Christmas Stock Market. Saint Nicholas (Jordan) stops by to tell us this whole Saint thing was a big misunderstanding. History is established in NiQ's (Alan) tales of elves digging the underground workshop and Jolly Old Elf (Jodi) tells us how the whole operation became more efficient. Kris Kringle (Chris) is a bit creepy regarding his love of children and Big S (Geno) has let fame go to his head. Becky Botrill plays the happily shnockered Mrs. Claus, the leader of this group therapy session.

Both shows were written by Jeff Goode and directed by Dan Tursi. They play at Jazz Central Fri/Sat through Dec 20. They help balance out the treacle-y-ness of the season.