Riverside Press-Enterprise - November 19, 2004

For Some, Naughty is Nice

Pat O'Brien

Pat O'Brien

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues" is not for the kiddies. It isn't even for some adults.

But for those who like irreverence, social commentary and a bit of raunchiness in their Rudolph, it may make for a very merry Christmas.

Here's the premise: Santa stands accused of molesting a reindeer and each of the famed sleigh pullers dishes about the boss with acid-tongued delight.

Part of what is funny, but also unsettling, is the incongruous juxtaposition of people wearing antlers sitting in Santa's workshop talking about sexual misconduct.

"I think it's pretty cool when you can do a play as silly as this about reindeer and still have something to say," said director Josh Costello. "There is a level of irony I find very compelling, very funny."

Costello was founder and artistic director of Impact Theatre in Berkeley and taught acting at South Coast Rep Young Conservatory. He said he cringed when first asked if he would direct a Christmas play for the Chance Theater Repertory Company in Anaheim Hills. But when he read Jeff Goode's play, he was hooked.

It turns Christmas - it's commercialism and cloying sentiment - on its head, he said.

"It's fair to say it's cutting. There are people who would be offended if they saw the play. It's very raunchy. Like an episode of 'South Park' is how raunchy it gets," he said. "It's a challenging play to watch."

It brings up the reaction people have when their heroes or at least people they respect, such as priests or Kobe Bryant, are accused of sexual misdeeds. People don't want to believe it, Costello said.

The show runs Saturday through Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays. $20; $17 seniors, students. The opening Saturday show is $15 and a gala the first Sunday is $25. The Chance Theater, 5552 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills. (714) 777-3033.

Published: Friday, November 19, 2004