South Florida Sun-Sentinel - November 25, 2002

Imagine troupe excels at edgy reindeer games

By Bill Hirschman
Staff Writer
Posted November 25 2002

Christmas Eve is approaching, but there's trouble in the reindeer shed.

Top deer Dasher is at the bar drinking a bit too much and fretting about a possible mass walkout over Vixen's allegations that good ol' St. Nick is a serial deer molester.

Some mysterious trauma has sent Rudolph into catatonia broken only by his renditions of obscene Christmas carols. Prancer is plotting a Hollywood buddy movie starring himself and Vin Diesel as Santa Claus.

And Dancer freely gossips about the Kringle couple: "The only thing they share is alcoholism, V.D. and snowy white beards."

Just in time for the holiday season comes a series of profane, irreverent and terribly funny skits that comprise a self-proclaimed sleigh ride to hell.

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues is the perfect antidote to Nick At Nite's 24-hour marathon of Christmas on Walton's Mountain.

Even as anthropomorphic gazelles leap across the Broward Center stage in The Lion King, eight antlered malcontents in the Hollywood Playhouse's Blue Box Theatre are giving interviews to what seems to be a Christmas edition of E!'s The Untold Story.

Elena Maria Garcia, artistic director of the Imagine Stage Company, has herded versatile actors into impersonating neurotic livestock whose egos and quirks mirror our own. Along with Jerry Seeger, Joe Kimble, Wendolynn Mateo and Ivonne Azurdia, Carbonell winner Paul Tei is first among equals as the gone-Hollywood Prancer and Cupid, the "first openly gay reindeer."

A Doral golf visor around his antlers and designer sunglasses over his eyes, Prancer rages against discrimination in the film industry: "No deer was ever nominated for an Academy Award, not even Bambi."

Protesting the violation of Vixen, militant Blitzen warns, "A reindeer has a right to her own body. A reindeer is not livestock!" She reveals that Santa gives short shrift to Third World countries on his annual journey but never passes up a CNN photo op with the U.N. troops.

In a slightly serious turn, Rudolph's dad, Donner, reveals how he agreed to allow Santa to take his "retarded, deformed son" for a single night of glory, although he suspected that Santa had darker uses for the youngster.

Each of Jeff Goode's vignettes runs a hair long although the entire show is only 75 minutes. But Garcia, a local comic treasure, not only keeps the pieces trotting along, but highlights both the delightfully sophomoric humor and the skewing satire of sexual politics, media circuses and debilitating compromises.

Definitely not for kids of all ages (or kids of any age for that matter), this is an early present for those who think Denis Leary's The Ref is the best Christmas movie ever made.

Bill Hirschman can be reached at or 954-356-4513.

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