December 1, 2008
December 2, 2008
Reindeer are people, too. That's the premise of "The Eight Reindeer Monologues" by Jeff Goode, presented by RES Productions and Unlikely Theatre, with Howard Allen directing. In this amusing satire we learn what real life is like at the North Pole. And discover Rudolph's uneasy relationship with the reindeer regulars.
Well, Comet isn't that proud, she's pretty insecure. She used to be a junkie, but Santa's drug rehabilitation program took Comet off the streets and put her in the air.
This once-troubled flier is now Santa's staunchest ally. The jist of this play is that Santa's moral turpitude has been hidden behind a centuries-long public relations program that is finally unraveling.
You know how "The Vagina Monologues" seeks to demystify the public persona of that particular body part? Well, so does "The Eight Reindeer Monologues" ... but with reindeer.
Several on this team of troubled steeds accuse Santa of being a child molesting pervert with a very limited wardrobe. Setting up the monologues like witness testimony at Santa's trial, each reindeer steps forward sporting a nice rack of antlers to reveal what Paul Harvey would call "the rest of the story."
Jeff Robinson, a relatively new actor in Tucson, leads the way with an intense performance as Dasher, the militant leader of the pack. Dasher knows there is trouble in Kringletown, but like a good soldier refuses to question his personal responsibilities. He also wears camouflage fatigues and a cartridge belt packed with carrots.
Cupid (Steve McKee) provides immediate contrast, playing a fey fellow who loves it when Santa cracks that whip. But then he sounds jealous, implying how the jolly fat man looks a little too jolly bouncing all those children on his knee.
Blitzen (Chris Farishon) the feminist activist comes steaming onstage in a blue T-shirt proclaiming "Doe Power." She accuses Santa of trying to cut his delivery costs by refusing to visit some Third World countries. And he treats the reindeer like livestock, she says, forcing them to wear nothing but leather straps and bells.
Garrett Staab is another new actor on the scene. He plays Prancer, who is now filled with Hollywood pretension after starring in a movie about his life. Prancer really hates it that Rudolph still gets so much media attention.
Alida Gunn really lights up the stage, though, as born-again Comet. First she accuses Santa of abusing the elves and having a very special relationship with Rudolph. But then she stands up for old Father Christmas, claiming all those reindeer who complain about him are just a bunch of bisexual perverts.
Also in denial is Dancer (Roxanne Harley), another refugee from hard times. She refuses to believe there is any substance to the sex charges against Santa. But she does claim one of the reindeer is a muslim.
Donner (Eric Anson) is the sleigh team's Sad Sack, guilt-ridden because he is Rudolph's father and has done nothing to protect his son from Santa's advances.
The capper comes with Vixen (Laine Peterson), one of those proper-looking young women who admits to being more sexually spontaneous than most flying reindeer. But some of the others are worse, she insists. The North Pole's double standard on morality means nobody is innocent.
It isn't likely that Tucson parents who leave a plate of cookies for Santa's reindeer every Christmas Eve will be seeing "The Eight Reindeer Monologues," anyway. This is a show for Bah Humbug cynics buzzed on egg nog. Yuletide burn-outs with their bank accounts in ashes. You know who you are.