December 9, 2008
SARATOGA SPRINGS - Apparently life at the North Pole is no different than it is everywhere else. Sexual harassment and other evils are alive and well. Or, maybe it's the gossip and rumors that are alive and well. That's a decision you will have to make after seeing The Local Actors Guild's highly spirited production of "The Eight Reindeer Monologues" by Jeff Goode.
Have you ever wondered why jolly old Santa likes kids but doesn't have any of his own? Have you ever wondered why "the fat man" spends so much time with his reindeer and his elves but not with his wife? Have you ever wondered just why he is always so jolly? Have you ever wondered what Mrs. Claus does in all her lonely hours?
Santa's reindeer are ready and willing to tell tales that you never hear around the fireplace or in front of the Christmas tree. The show is definitely not for children, not because of the language but because of the subject matter. Kids just wouldn't get it and would be disappointed with all this talk about Santa and the self-serving accusations against the bearded fellow.
All eight reindeer have tales to tell about Santa's sexual and other abuses and Mrs. Claus' drinking problem. But it's up to the audience to decide who's telling the truth. Yes, reindeer can spread false tales for personal advantage just as people do. But, again, like people, some are very capable of telling the truth.
Just remember, it's all in fun. When you feel like laughing, as you will again and again, do so. This wickedly funny show is being staged all over the country, and serious playgoers who like to laugh will be happy that the Local Actors Guild has the spunk to do it here.
Have you ever wondered what happened to Rudolph? He isn't in this show, and you'll see why. The show has a somewhat serious side as it displays what happens in real life when someone reveals sordid details about a public figure to be followed by more questionable allegations and inevitable press coverage attempting to satisfy the public's right to know "the facts."
One by one, each of the reindeer testifies starting with Carter Harris' macho Dasher, whose loyalty is to his job rather than to Santa, followed by Nik Gatzendorfer's sparkling Cupid, who seems joyfully content with the way things are.
Then Daryl Hirschfeld's self-serving Hollywood, once known as Prancer, reveals he is far more interested in saving his damaged movie career than all the nonsense about Santa.
Jessica Weiss' Blitzen questions whether Santa's holiday visits are safe for children, while JJ Buechner's perhaps too loyal Comet sees Santa as a good man.
Kathleen Dunham's Dancer with a down South accent brings up additional charges like the reindeer don't have sick days or vacation days and perhaps should go on strike come Dec. 24.
Mindy Morse's Corey warns of what she terms "fatal parental optimism" when thinking about Santa.
Finally, we meet Molly McGrath's much-talked-about Vixen. The question is was she raped by Santa or is she just looking for attention?
All eight cast members keep us interested and laughing through the 90-minute production.
You'll be surprised how much these reindeer resemble us so-called human beings, and in the end you just might end up laughing at us.
Director Carissa LoPresti has every right to be proud of this polished production, wrapped and ready to go to all who appreciate dark comedy masterfully delivered.