Monday, December 15, 2014

The Santaland Diaries

Unbelievably, we had a completely free weekend.  A completely free weekend in the middle of December, no less.  No road trip.  No camping.  No getaway at the family lodge.  No traveling.  No visits from relatives.  No visits to relatives.

A completely free weekend.

So, what did we do?  We filled it, of course!  The hubby and I are apparently just not the types to let much grass grow under our feet.  We selected three events that he and I could do together, just ourselves.  A weekend of fun for us, to enjoy each other and some holiday events before it gets crazy again when the relatives start trickling in after next weekend.

The first event we attended was on Friday evening.  After a simple dinner out at our favorite local pizza joint, we headed to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to see a show in the Capitol Lounge of the Community Arts Center.  We've seen many quality shows in the theater there over the years, but never one in the Lounge.  It was a cozy venue with a warm feeling, nicely decorated for the Christmas holiday.

It was a one man show, and so a coffeehouse atmosphere was appropriate.  Adult beverages were available, although the dialog of the show was more than adequate to draw plenty of laughs.  In fact, this show may be recommended for mature audiences.

The "Santaland Diaries," by David Sedaris, is a hilarious and grumpy one man show about his season spent employed as an elf at Macy's Santaland.

The life of David Sedaris took an unexpected turn when his "Santaland Diaries" were first broadcast on the Morning Edition of National Public Radio in 1992.  In segments, Sedaris recounted his experiences playing Crumpet the elf at Macy's in New York City during the holidays.  Almost overnight, Sedaris went from obscurity to sought after.

Then, in 1996, Joe Mantello adapted Sedaris' essay for the stage as a one-man, one act play which debuted during the holidays that year.  For nearly 90 minutes we sat spellbound, as "Crumpet" recalled various moments and personalities from his employment as an elf.

Here are a few segments taken from the show:

"Jerome is a difficult Santa, moody and unpredictable.  He spends a lot of time staring off into space and tallying up his paycheck for the hours he has worked so far.  Jerome seems to have his own bizarre agenda.  When the children arrive, he looks down at his boots and lectures them, suggesting a career in entomology..."


"I changed my elf name from Crumpet to Blisters.  It's a little on the trollish side, but circumstances have eroded my elfin spirit.  I was with Santa Carl when a mother came in with her child saying, 'All right, Jason.  Tell Santa what you want.  Tell him what you want.

Jason said, 'I want...Procton and...Gamble to...stop animal testing.'  The mother rapped her son over the head saying, 'Proctor.  That's Proctor and Gamble.  And what do they do to animals?  Do they torture animals, Jason?  Is that what they do?'"...


"I manned the OH MY GOD corner.  We were packed, absolutely packed and everyone seemed to stop me with a question.

'Which way to the down escalator - which way to the elevator - The Patio Restaurant - gift wrap - Trim-A-Tree.'  There was a line for Santa and a line for the women's bathroom and one woman, having asked me a thousand questions already, got up in my face asking, 'Which is the line for the women's bathroom?'  I shouted that I thought it was the line with all the women in it.  Then she said, 'I'm going to have you fired.'"...

As I mentioned earlier, there were plenty of laughs.  This monologue, "The Santaland Diaries,"  may well become an adults' substitute for 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

I could definitely enjoy hearing it recited every couple of holiday seasons.

Next:  A Christmas Party at an Art Deco Movie Theater

1 comment:

  1. I will have to check out the book. I do love Mr. Sedaris.