The Gayly Oklahoman - December 15, 2003
By Andrew Hicks, The Gayly Oklahoman, December 15, 2003
Nothing says Christmas like a good scandal.
Okay, so maybe I am just speaking for myself but imagine what would transpire if Ole Saint Nick was just like the rest of us, a money loving, sex starved creature of will. Personally I think it sure would explain a lot. In the Nightingale Theater's production of Jeff Goode's The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, running December 18th-20th, director John Cruncleton and his cast are bent on setting the record straight.. so to speak.
"Vixen is coming forward with the allegations that Santa has raped her," explained Cruncleton in a recent interview with The Gayly. "On top of this there is an old scandal that all of the reindeer refer to rather obliquely, that Rudolph has been the victim of some really atrocious abuse on the part of Santa. Each of the reindeer come forward and tells their story. Rudolph does not because he is sort of catatonic at this point, which is referred to by several of the reindeer. I think he is locked in a padded cell singing Christmas carols to himself. It comes out that the whole North Pole cultural is presorted and everyone has his or her own way of dealing with the issue. Some of the reindeer come down on Santa's side because they need their job and some of the other reindeers are opposed to Santa and are trying to bring him down."
Without a doubt The Eight will certainly put a slant on the jingle of the holidays, a slant that Cruncleton says is long overdue. Cruncleton explains that the cheap shots the production takes is what makes the play all the more fun.
"I am sort of a Scrooge. I have never been a real Christmas fanatic. At this point Santa represents a merchandising ploy, which makes it hard to feel a lot of nostalgia for it. At any rate he is a good symbol for what is most corrupt and rancid about Christmas. I think it's great that families can get together, spend time and be thankful for things, but the over all merchandising is worth the criticism in this play. I think it is sending up the symbol of Santa like that addressed the issue without being preachy. It's just a funny show."
Cruncleton said that he and the Nightingale organizers thought the show would be fun for those who were wishing to escape the "forced holiday cheer" and at the same time raise funds for the Nightingale Theater which is a nonprofit organization. The Nightingale Theater was opened in 2000 by The Midwestern Theater Troupe and has since served as an affordable, alternative venue available to local and touring companies. Cruncleton explained that it was Devin Meadows of Theater Tulsa who thought the play would be a perfect fit for the Nightingale, an after reading the script Cruncleton agreed.
The cast of The Eight is comprised of actors and actresses spouting their rants about Santa. Cruncleton explained that he handpicked who would play his disgruntled reindeer, and after searching long and hard he put together a cast of people who, in his words, "fit the roles." Adding her own bit of flair to the role of Cupid is Tulsa shock-rock-drag-diva Peaches.
"I'm the only openly out gay reindeer in Santa's group" explained Peaches " I start the character out in drag and end up leather."
Known for her heart stopping wit and over the top theatrics, Peaches explained that she hopes to add a bit of flair to the production. She explained that for her bit, Cupid is upset with Santa because he is both a pedophile and a homophobe.
"He has never messed with me, I am also the only reindeer that Santa hasn't tried to molest."
Peaches explained that despite her wild persona she took the part with much trepidation. She said that it took her nearly a week to agree to do the part, which was a result of her husband's gentle nudging.
"John came and asked me if I would be interested and at first I thought, well this could be interesting, but after I started looking at it I thought, good Lord I haven't done this in thirty years! The script is written in a poem type form, there is a cadence to it and that is the key to the delivery of it. Although it is not a poem, there is really no space to ad lib."
Peaches explained that while Cruncleton had fully expected the complete, uncensored style that has made her infamous, there was still some apprehension on both parties. While the part of Cupid may not have been written specifically for Peaches, one thing is for certain: Peaches will certainly make the character her own.
The Eight runs Dec. 18 -20th beginning at 8pm. Tickets for the production are $10 and can be purchased by calling 918-583-8487. For more information about The Eight, log on to www.nightingaletheater.com.