Herald & Review - December 15, 2006

The Eight

Ten Buck Tammy

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer (also known as Hollywood) and Vixen; Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen; but do you recall the most twisted Christmas story of all?

Millikin University students recently performed the production "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues" by Jeff Goode at the Beacon Art Gallery and Entrepreneurship Center on North Main Street.

The short production, at 45 minutes, is full of comedic satire and is more of an adult comedy (though it is about reindeers), as it includes strong language, suggestive themes, and as the presenter put it, "alcohol consumption." If you are a person who is easily offended, I suggest not seeing this play.

The Beacon Art Gallery was an ideal place to have this production. The gallery is very spacious. Space actually wasn't the problem at the production, chairs were. Chairs were running low for audience members to sit, as some sat on nearby stairs.

"The Eight" is about each of Santa's reindeers telling their stories and opinions of a scandal that was said to have occurred between Santa Claus and one of the reindeers. "When a doe says 'no', she means 'no'," was one of the popular lines from the play.

Each reindeer got their turn to speak, but the infamous Rudolph was nowhere to be found. He was mentioned throughout the play, but he was the only one who did not state his opinion. According to the other reindeers, he was too much in shock to talk.

I also noticed that Prancer was referred to as "Hollywood" in the play. It threw Ted and me off at first, but because it was mentioned, we figured it was in regards to the 1989 movie "Prancer." Also, I didn't know Blitzen, Dancer and Vixen were females - I just thought they were all males. This was also explained in the play.

The plot was just so warped and outrageous. I won't go into detail of the play because I'm afraid of giving away even the slightest part, but I will say that it was a laugh a minute with a splash of drama. The reindeers had the funniest stories, hang-ups and rumors about one another as they personified humans and our everyday distorted problems.

The Millikin students impressed me greatly as they each presented their monologue, adding a different flavor to the reindeers they were playing. Each reindeer stood out in some way. I was also impressed by their memorization of their lengthy monologues.

After a thunderous applause, the Millikin students came out to greet their crowd. While some congratulated the actors, other audience members walked around the gallery to look at the artwork, adding to Bea-con being an ideal place for all types of art.

The play was free and open to the public; and according to the Beacon's owner Rick McCoy, more events and art workshops targeting the community are forthcoming at the Beacon.

The art gallery hours of the Beacon are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The gallery was opened Sunday for the production.

For more information, call 391-6476.