December 2009

The Eight Reindeer Monologues: Sex, Lies, Antlers...

by My Nguyen

Everybody knows how the song goes, "You better watch out/You better not cry/Better not/I'm telling you why." Why? ‘Cause Santa Claus is coming to town, that's why. For Jeff Goode's play, "The Eight Reindeer Monologues", the repercussions to this song are great. Produced at The Compass Theatre and directed by Jerry Pilato, Santa Claus is not portrayed in your normal jolly fat way. Old Saint Nick, whom you think you know so well, is given a different alias. He is comparable to only one other celebrity.

Only one step away from what Claus did, at least Tiger Woods isn't getting away with his crime. With eight monologues that tract the face of Claus, what we get ain't pretty. Dasher (Desmond Hassing) resents that he wasn't always the first reindeer. On one foggy Christmas Eve that is...His anger is almost palpable as he releases it onto the audience. Subtlety not his forte, he lashes out that he was, "the first reindeer, THE reindeer as far as reindeer can fly." Cupid (Tyler Herdklotz), the gay reindeer, of course, dishes out the dirt on the Clauses. But as the night goes on for the reindeer, he gets drunker and drunker, the more incomprehensible he gets (oh, does he love the whip). Hollywood (Tim Benson) the third reindeer in this debacle whips himself into a fancy when faced with the merry little fact that no deer has ever been nominated for an Oscar. "C'mon give that deer an Oscar!" Blitzen (Lynae De Priest) is in a huff herself. She rushes onstage giving the audience members an avid once-over. Santa Claus is a no-good act, she claims. Third world countries don't receive his charity. And the reindeers gets worse treatment. They're treated like livestock, dressed in only leather and jingle-bells. And Blitzen's solution to all this? A neutered Claus. Comet (Stephen Rowe) was a young deer gone bad. He was a troubled deer kept from road kill or becoming a trophy. Santa Claus saved his life! What the other reindeers are doing is warped. Much like how Tiger Woods was targeted, Claus is getting the same treatment. Dancer (Teresa Beckwith) prances in with the leaps and jumps she is praised for. Once a ballet-deer, she can pirouette like a killer. She wants to join the strike, but is hesitate to talk of the debacle. But Donner (Josh Hyatt) is more than willing to talk. The father of Rudolph, he tried to protect his only son, but Santa Claus' tyranny was too much even for a parent. Vixan (Jennifer Provenza), the world's most famous victim gives the world's its grand expose. But when faced with the enormity of it all, is she really telling the truth of is she merely a lying vixen?

Goode has definitely dished out the goods in this unforgettably unremorsefully explicit play. Filled with daring wordplay and cleverly written anecdotes, each reindeer is given a voice of its own. Every deer gets his day, but in this case eight reindeers get an excuse to share the limelight. And they do with definite finesse. This Christmas play is a sure way to fire up your Christmas cheer...and burn down those stockings.