The Dressing Room News
Florida State University
School of Theatre
December 26, 2008
An Elf in the Making and Vixen's Untold Story: A Review of The Santaland Diaries and The Eight Reindeer Monologues
By Tawatha Valentine:Editor-in-Chief
The Artist's Workshop along with Tallahassee Little Theatre put up a night of unforgettable theatre this past weekend. The night consisted of two one-act pieces: The Santaland Diaries (a one-man show) by David Sedaris; and The Eight Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode. The shows were great complements to each other, as they both propelled pure laugh-out-loud energy from the audience.
The first show of the night was a one-man comedy that delivered beyond this reviewer’s expectations. As soon as Krumpet (Michael Hardy), a newly hired mall-elf, stepped on stage and gave the audience a smirk, I knew I was in for a good night. The Santaland Diaries is a one-act play about a 33-year-old man who moves to The City with hopes of becoming a Soap Opera star. However, he realizes that he has to support himself somehow in the meantime, so he searches for job in New York City. Lucky for him it is the season to be jolly and Macy’s is looking for seasonal hires to dress like elves and usher in children of all kinds to sit on the lap of Old St. Nick. Hardy managed to keep his great energy throughout the show as he recountsed his experience as a Santaland elf, with rowdy New Jersey families, crying babies, overbearing parents, “chocolate” and “traditional” Santas, and co-workers from all backgrounds—such as dancers, actors, and fallen corporate Americans—who “never suspected a yellow velvet suit in their future.” From beginning to end Hardy was a delight to watch on stage. He kept the full attention of the audience and delivered great impersonations of the diverse types one would find in New York.
The second half of the evening was just as entertaining as the first and consisted of Eight Monologues from “The Team” of Santa's eight reindeer—Dasher (Krystof Kage), Cupid (Jaylen Christie), Hollywood a.k.a. Prancer (William Parente), Blitzen (Shirley DeSear), Comet (Nathaniel Compton), Dancer (Jennifer Goldfarb), Donner (Ryan Burk), and Vixen (Rachel Adams). You may be quite familiar with these eight reindeer but not quite as familiar with the new twist Jeff Goode puts on the personalities of Santa's most prized. The Eight Reindeer Monologues is a dark Christmas comedy. It is full of laughter-worthy material but also sheds light on a serious matter. The show is based around an accusation by Vixen that Santa sexually harassed her. Her accusation causes a worldwide scandal to erupt and many to question the actions of the seemingly pure St. Nicholas. Each of the reindeer enters separately and tells their perspective on the situation. Not only does the audience find out some of the most interesting facts about Santa’s eight, but we also find out some disturbing news about Santa.
The eight actors that embarked on this show all brought a different but well thought-out energy to the performance. Dasher is a redneck reindeer who knows how to lead a pack...and how to drink one. Kage started the show with a bang: he was the best beer-can-crushing redneck I have ever witnessed.
Christie took the buck by the horns with his role as Cupid and wasn’t afraid to go all the way with his character choices. Cupid is a flamboyant buck who just wants to “spice up the holiday season” and doesn’t so much mind Santa's whip.
Hollywood is a deer out for fame and quite jealous of the well-known red-nosed reindeer. All he wants is a Blockbuster hit. Parente made a great Hollywood. His over-the-top British accent added the perfect touch to the fame-hungry sleigh puller.
Blitzen is an outraged feminist who thinks that Santa is a “jolly fat pervert.” She proclaims that Vixen said “no” and “when a doe says no, it means no.” DeSear played the feminist role with conviction and managed to keep the audience laughing even with the serious content of the monologue.
Compton was a great Comet. He was natural and low-key. Comet is a reformed reindeer who, in the past, was not afraid to delve into a few illegal substances and thinks Vixen’s accusations are ridiculous. This reindeer once sported a tattoo of a skull wrapped in flames but after his reformation now wears a colorful snow cone...with flames.
Goldfarb was on point as the ditsy Jewish Dancer. Dancer once owned a Ballet studio but after the Ballet Holocaust that forbade reindeer to dance, she found a spot on Santa’s dream team. She thinks that Santa may be guilty but only hopes for a pay raise for working under such conditions.
Burk kept the laughs coming with his spot-on comedic timing as Donner—the father of Rudolph. Donner campaigned for his right to say “no” to Santa. However, he caved and lent his traumatized son to Santa when he was offered a spot on “The Team.”
Adams brought the show to the perfect end. She introduced the audience to the darker side of the man we all know as Santa. Vixen, drunk during her monologue, reveals that Santa does his dirty deeds in his toy shop. She ends the show with the moral of the twisted Christmas tale. It doesn’t matter if you think a person is asking for it by the way they dress or act, rape is never justified.
Overall, though the night was long, it was most enjoyable. The casts were outstanding and delivered some of the best Christmas entertainment I’ve witnessed in a long time. If you want to learn more about The Artists Workshop, visit the website at www.theartistsworkshop.com.