If I have to see another Nutcracker or another A Christmas Carol, I’ll jump into a snowdrift. I wanted to offer an alternative to the public and I thought that sharing some David Sedaris holiday essays from his collection, Holidays on Ice, would accomplish that. And, it’s amazing to learn how many people actually relate to his pessimistic approach to the holiday season. Sometimes I feel like I’m speaking to a vocal congregation or am present at a revivalist meeting. People can relate so strongly to some of Sedaris’ views that they start talking back to me when I’m on stage. It’s sort of like when people go to the movies and yell at the screen to warn the parents that their possessed demon child just sprouted a tail, or when men scream at the television when the Ravens are playing.
I didn’t know this until it actually started happening, but many people come to the show in what I refer to as their “holiday attire.” I don’t encourage this at all. People get this idea all on their own – don’t blame me. Apparently, when people pull out the holiday ornaments, flame-retardant trees, last year’s candy canes, plastic mistletoe and old fruit cake, they also pull out the box marked “holiday clothing.” It’s amazing to see how many people actually go out in knitted sweaters and proudly sport their Santa sweater, their reindeer sweater, their Christmas tree sweater, their poinsettia sweater, their silver bells sweater. They are all oversized and never subdued. Then there is the head and face gear: the strap-on antlers, the Rudolph glow-in-the-dark nose, and the “stockings hung-by-the-chimney-with-care” earrings. Of course, people show off their holiday socks, turtlenecks, underwear and bras – yes, bras. No, I don’t encourage this at all. These people do this all on their own. I do feel sorry that I’m not as courageous as them, for it takes a bold person to walk out their front door and subject themselves to ridicule. I’ve seen it all … well, actually, I’ve never had a Christmas tree with tinsel and candles all-a-glow buy a ticket. And I’ve also never seen Baby New Year with a sash crawling onto a seat in the audience. And for that I’m glad.
The press release for Holidays on Ice says that I’ll be reading Front Row Center With Thadeus Bristol , which is one of Sedaris’ tamer pieces. In Front Row Center… theatre critic Thaddeus Bristol reviews The Story of the First Christmas, performed by students at Sacred Heart Elementary under the direction of Sister Mary Elizabeth Bronson. He also takes in A Reindeer’s Gift, by ten-year-old Charles St. Claire, playing at Scottsfield Elementary, AND A Christmas Carol, under the direction of eleven-year-old Becky Michaels, at the Jane Snow-Hernandez Middle School.
In addition to Front Row Center… I just got the “go” from David Sedaris’ agent to share two essays that will be new to Rep Stage audiences. The two pieces are called Dinah The Christmas Whore and Christmas Means Giving.
I hope that audiences will be able to walk away from the evening knowing that they are not alone. It’s okay to want to blow a gasket at the commercialism of the holiday season. It’s okay to want to rear-end someone at the Columbia Mall. It’s not okay, but understandable, if you get an itch to switch price tags on an overpriced chimenea just because you hate saying “chimenea” and because it’s a pain to wrap up and put under the tree. My wish, Rep Stage’s wish, and I think Mr. Sedaris’ hope is that we’ll continue to find the humor in the holiday and in the every day.
Happy Holidays to you and to all of your readers and thanks for your continued coverage of all things theatre!
Rep Stage’s upcoming holiday offering of three essays by David Sedaris from his book Holidays on Ice, which will be at Rep Stage December 16 @ 8 PM, December 17 @ 2 PM and 8 PM, December 18 @ 2 PM and December 19 @ 7 PM. The show will take place in Rep Stage’s Studio Theatre. All tickets are $15 and can be ordered by visiting www.repstage.org or by calling (443) 518-1500.