Louisville Scene - December 11, 1998

'The Eight: Reindeer Monologues'
Christmas play has a sick twist

By PAUL CURRY © The Courier-Journal
From Dec. 11, 1998

Once we were told that "Christmas is for children" and that "we're all children on Christmas day." But Christmas has lately become the time for dysfunctional family flare-ups, and it is apparently this aspect of the holidays that has inspired Jeff Goode to write "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues," now being presented at the Rudyard Kipling by the Theatre Excalibur, directed by Aaron Stover.

Through a series of eight monologues, we are introduced to "The Eight," the best that the reindeer world has to offer.

Our first speaker is Dasher, a blue-collar reindeer who takes his job seriously. Played by Brian Curley, Dasher is perhaps the most enjoyable of the characters presented, but as he rambles he lets slip a few details about "the trouble" with Rudolph and Vixen.

Then we meet Cupid, a flaming homosexual who alleges that Santa is a pervert and that Mrs. Claus is a drunk.

Prancer, now known as "Hollywood," ever since they made that movie about him, is only interested in personal gain. Blitzen, a militant feminist, hopes to lead a strike on Christmas because of Santa's actions. Comet, speaking from a pulpit, argues that the real Santa is a good man and that the various stories of his alleged misbehavior are lies. Donner, played with tragic sensitivity by Andy Pyle, the long-suffering father of Rudolph, relates a horrific tale wherein he betrays his son.

Ultimately, we learn that Vixen and Rudolph have been victimized by Santa. The perfect little fantasy of toymaking and gift-giving is spun upside-down, and we are left with a not-so-funny-anymore kind of surreality that defies any appropriate presentation. And while there may be, sadly, children who might identify with the events presented here, parents would do best to leave them at home.

If you go . . .

Next performance: Roundtable Theatre at Rudyard Kipling, tonight (Dec. 11), Dec. 18-19 and 21, 7:30 p.m.