`Santaland' a clever spoof on holiday traditions

December 14, 2007|By William Hyder | William Hyder,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Had it with the holidays? Fed up with colored lights and glitter? The Santaland Diaries is a good antidote to seasonal overload.

It is a funny but cynical one-man show that takes a nontraditional look at holiday traditions. Rep Stage mounted a production of it last year, and enough Scrooges enjoyed it to persuade the company to bring it back for another run.

About 15 years ago, humorist David Sedaris, then an aspiring actor in New York, landed a job as an elf in the Christmas spectacle at Macy's department store.

He learned that it is not easy to be an elf. You have to fill out many forms, survive interviews and attend motivational exercises.

And it is no fun dealing with children, their parents or even Santa Claus. In their red suits and white fur, Santas look pretty much alike but, as Sedaris learned, the men wearing the uniform have individual quirks.

Bruce Nelson repeats his brilliant performance as David, but there is a new director, Michael Stebbins, and a new venue - Slayton House in Wilde Lake Village Center. Stebbins added clever touches that make this production more entertaining than last year's.

The show is not for children. If they believed in Santa Claus before, they would not after seeing The Santaland Diaries. The script also contains rough language and some references to homosexuality. But mature audiences will find plenty to laugh at.

Rep Stage's "The Santaland Diaries," by David Sedaris, through Dec. 23 at Slayton House, Wilde Lake Village Community Center, 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Reservations: 410-772-4900 or www.howardcc.edu/repstage.

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