The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) has a whole slew of shows lined up over the holidays, from Christmas favorites we've known since childhood to very nontraditional shows, and stories you have to see to believe! This December's performances include "A Christmas Carol", "An Act of God", "Finding Neverland", "Hedwig and the Angry Itch", "Rudolf" and "SantaLand Diaries".
"SantaLand Diaries" is one performance that is difficult to categorize. While the story itself revolves completely around the Christmas holiday, it doesn't quite fit into the cheery and warm Christmas themes because of it's nontraditional, super snarky, offbeat and angsty tone. And that's exactly how the story's main character Crumpet the Elf feels during his time working in SantaLand. The story is based on a job satirical writer David Sedaris took on one winter in a desperate attempt to make some extra money over the holidays.
This is a one man show is played by Michael Bouchard, who has received multiple honors for his acting here in Denver, and chronicles Sedaris' season as a Macy's Elf in all of it's cringe worthy, agonizing, hilarious glory. He goes from a respectable looking man in the opening scene to a humiliated Elf in fluffy polyester from head to toe, that must go through interviews, tests and training just to get the un-glamorous position. Once elf-ed, his roles vary between getting everyone from families to unexpecting foreigners into line to see Santa, guiding guests along and keeping them entertained once in line, acting as right hand man to Santa filling him in on the child's name about to enter, that half the time Santa is too old to hear correctly, and cleaning up messes and the frequent vomit that happens with kids' excitement or fear that overcomes them when they finally meet Mr. Santa man himself.
Audience members get a good glimpse of how the Holidays can drive people to do crazy things and the capitalism surrounding it all. In the end though, Crumpet learns some valuable lessons about people, life, love and all that warm, fuzzy Christmas stuff this show leaves out until the very last scene. And that's what makes it an awesome alternative to the typical Holiday stories.
Off-Center Theatre Company
The Jones Theatre
1101 13th St.
Denver, CO 80204