‘Santaland Diaries’ is a jaded but jolly holiday show

Both the jolly and the jaded aspects of the holiday season are
showcased in “The Santaland Diaries,” being staged by
TheatereWorks Silicon Valley for the second straight year.

The show is based on an essay written by humorist David Sedaris
and tells the story of his tenure as Crumpet the Elf at Macy’s in
New York while struggling as a writer. The essay gained attention
when Sedaris read it on NPR in 1992 and was later adapted into a
one-man show by Joe Mantello.

“It’s a tightrope to balance the sarcasm and dark, wry
nature of the language,” says Jeffery Lo, who is directing
TheatreWorks’ production. “But I think the strength of the
piece is in the end, David Sedaris does love the holidays and has
some optimism about the holiday, and I think I identify with
that.”

Lo also helmed last year’s production, which featured Max
Tachis as Crumpet the Elf. Tachis, who is donning the elf shoes
again this year, says the show is great for those who are
enthusiastic about the Christmas season as well as those who are a
little exhausted by the festivities.

“The sarcasm and wit of David Sedaris unravels what the
Christmas spirit and season are in a way that people who are sick
of seeing ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ might really enjoy,” adds
the actor. “It’s an outsider’s view of Christmas season
because Sedaris is not a person who cares about the Christmas
season. He’s commenting on what he sees, which I think people
overwhelmed by Christmas may be attracted to.”

Tachis says the show has an element of audience participation,
in that the different reactions from audience members mean that
every performance is a little bit different.

“I’m a big fan of fourth wall as an actor,” he says about
interacting with the audience. “Every night it’s a pretty scary
challenge, but pays off with something brand-new and usually
hilarious, so I look forward to a lot.”

“The Santaland Diaries” has become a very popular holiday
performance piece, and although Lo says their show has some unique
twists, such as the use of a professionally made puppet, he would
not reveal just how it’s used.

While the show is for mature audiences, both Lo and Tachis say
they hope that young adults will be drawn to the play not only for
its holiday themes, but because Sedaris’s situation in working
holiday retail is eternally relatable and his struggle still rings
true.

“Although it was written a few decades ago, the really
intelligent overqualified person in a retail job is something I
think is more relevant than it ever was,” Lo says. “I think
this is the holiday version of exploring how we navigate and find
ourself at that age.”

“The Santaland Diaries” runs Dec. 7-23. Shows are Tuesdays
through Sundays at the Lohman Theater, 12345 S. El Monte Road, Los
Altos Hills. Tickets are $45. For more information or to order
tickets, visit theatreworks.org. 

Source: FS – All – Interesting – News 2
‘Santaland Diaries’ is a jaded but jolly holiday show