Meet a Macy’s Christmas character like no other: the flask-wielding, shit-talking, pot-smoking elf named Crumpet. He may adorn himself in red and green (and a perky, spangled hat), but Crumpet is truly an elf of a different color.
This holiday season, Capital Stage brings you the hilarious tale of St. Nick’s most mischievous little helper in The SantaLand Diaries. The one-man show starring Aaron Wilton was written by humorist and author David Sedaris and made famous by its first appearance on NPR’s Morning Edition and later on Public Radio International’s This American Life. It’s the somewhat-true story of Sedaris’ own experience working as a Macy’s Christmas elf in New York City while dreaming of something bigger. Anyone familiar with Sedaris’ own reading on these radio shows will be happy to know this adaptation by actor/director Joe Mantello stays true to the original.
Director Janis Stevens opens the show with a minimalist set, where we meet a brassy, unemployed 33-year-old named David. He finds an ad for a Macy’s Christmas elf sad and hilarious, until he realizes he has no money. So he applies. And he gets it.
We follow Crumpet along on his journey, from the interview to his official elf training and into the chaotic countdown to the last day of Christmas shopping. We watch Crumpet energetically explain the entire experience: flattering (and sometimes scaring) wide-eyed children, flirting with a delicious little elf named Snowflake, getting closer to his dream of being on One Life to Live. As the stage transforms into a Santaland that children’s dreams are made of, he is slowly, but surely, being driven mad.
Nobody’s safe from the cynical eye and sharp tongue of Crumpet – not New Jersey residents, not camera-happy parents and not the mentally disabled. As for the nasty little children of Macy’s, Crumpet warns: “You’re going to wish you never heard the name Santa!”
As an audience member, you may see a mild elf striptease, get a chance to raise the roof, or even interact ever so briefly with Crumpet himself from your seat. With Wilton guiding us through the not-so-jolly but ever-so-colorful world of life as a Macy’s elf, it’s a Christmas trip absolutely worth taking.
The SantaLand Diaries is showing Thursday to Sunday through Dec. 29. Shows start at 8pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 2pm for Sunday matinee performances (with an additional Sunday show at 7pm on 12/22 only). Special holiday performances are Monday, Dec. 23 at 7pm and Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are $18-$20 with deals for students, seniors, and parties of 12 or more. Capital Stage is at 2215 J Street, Sacramento. Tickets and more information at capstage.org.
And in case it wasn’t clear, this show is for “mature” audiences.