Who: Syracuse Stage Where: 82- E. Genesee St. Syracuse NY 13210
When: December 9, 2015 - January 3, 2016
Syracuse Stage’s “The Santaland Diaries” is a festive treat that combines whip-smart entertainment with sheer fun. Directed by Wendy Knox and starring Wade McCollum, this one-man show is based on the classic essay version by David Sedaris.
The play tells the story of a jaded, starving artist who gets a part-time gig working as a retail Christmas elf in Macy’s. On a daily basis Crumpet the Elf deals with desperate parents, bratty tots and hectic Christmas shoppers all in the name of the holiday season.
Against the red, glittered, fake blanketed snow backdrop of Santaland, the exaggerated prominence of Christmas-themed props add their own dose of humor to the dissent Crumpet feels towards the holidays.
Filled with insightful anecdotes and witty monologues the play strikes comedic gold by featuring a subversive narrative that opposes the traditional definition of the holiday season. McCollum proves himself to be a master of parody, nailing the exact body language and voice to portray the wide range of characters he must encounter in Santaland.
His broad range of theatre credits (“Wicked” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) has allowed him to foster a stage presence that is comical as well as endearing. It’s this comedic timing that allows him to successfully embody the wit of Sedaris’ classic character who entertains us, as well as provokes us to alter our usual understanding of the holiday season.
This production serves up not only a funny tale, but offers a pleasurable alternative to the meaning of holiday entertainment.