Santaland Diaries

Santaland Diaries

A Play by David Sedaris starring Paolo Andino

In this economy no one is safe from having to take on the humiliating task of going out to get ANY job. Nowadays, with so many Americans out of work, it seems the daunting task of getting hired is one that is near impossible because many of these establishments have done away with basic face to face and only allow you to apply online. Quite possibly the most impersonal and inadequate way of employment. But I digress. Santaland Diaries is a wonderfully funny and twisted little tale of a 33 year-old man who is out of work, seemingly lost in the negative vortex of life, in need of some money and so – he applies to be an Elf. Oh yes, an Elf. At Macy’s New York. With the truly applaud-worthy performance of pulling off a one-man show with finesse, hysterics, humor, multiple personalities, thoughtfulness, emotional candor, and moments of clarity, actor Paolo Andino, aka “Crumpet the Elf” makes the holidays a lot easier to swallow … and mock. And let’s be honest, the Holidays are a playground for the functionally insane – aka – people on a candy cane high.

While some are thrilled for the holidays, like David Sedaris’ impression, I often wonder if perhaps we’re missing the point of well – basic humor and laughing at the dark comedy that we all refer to as “The Holidays”. Santaland Diaries takes you on a journey. One that makes you laugh, makes you cringe, makes you gasp, makes you think, makes you pause, makes you frustrated, makes you beg for more, makes you smile, warms your heart, and in a moment of the unexpected, it actually makes your eyes get a bit teary. It’s beautifully executed and Paolo Andino deserves some sort of Elf Award for being able to pull off this performance in a way that endears the audience and never leaves you looking around wondering when it’s going to be over. If I can say one thing it’s forget dealing with the angry elves at the actual departments stores, go see Santaland Diaries instead! I’ll guarantee you’ll see shopping in “Winter Wonderland” as an experience worth braving if for nothing else than to enjoy the quiet taunting. PLEASE GO! It isn’t a show you’ll want to miss. Directed by the truly lovely Michael Matthews, this performance is as raw and engaging as a holiday performance can get.

As an aside, David Sedaris is a writer after my own heart. He sees like as a wealth of story and finds the satirical humor in everything. While having had written many books, I encourage you to go out and purchase, “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk”. If you like Santaland Diaries, you’ll love this.

Stella Adler Theatre | 6773 Hollywood Boulevard | on the corner of Hollywood and Highland.

TICKETS: Performances now through December 16th | www.TheBlank.com | or by calling (323) 661-9827

 

Press Release:

The Blank Theatre’s annual holiday production of “The Santaland Diaries” by David Sedaris, now in its fourth year, will again star Paolo Andino and be directed by Michael Matthews. “Santaland” begins preview performances on Friday, November 16, and opening night is set for Saturday, November 24 at 8:00 at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood.

“The Santaland Diaries” is an outrageously funny solo play by NPR’s well-loved humorist David Sedaris, about his experiences as an unemployed writer who takes a job as a Christmas elf at Macy’s in New York City. At first, the job is simply humiliating, but once thousands of visitors start pouring through Santa’s workshop, David (or, as his alter ego is known, Crumpet the Elf) becomes battle weary and bitter, occasionally taking out his frustrations on the parents and children alike.

Paolo Andino is best known for his two seasons on LOGO’s “Big Gay Sketch Show.” Film: “Fatties,” “Pink & Green,” “Choking Man.” TV: “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Ed,” “Army Wives.” Stage: “Pieces,” “Anna in the Tropics,” “The 39 Steps,” “The Food Chain,” and “Waiting for Godot.”

Michael Matthews recently directed the intimate theatre premiere of “The Color Purple, The Musical” which is nominated for 13 Ovation Awards, including Best Director of a Musical. Also from this past season, his production of “What’s Wrong With Angry?” is Ovation Award- nominated, including Best Director of a Play. Matthews is the winner of two 2011 NAACP image Awards for his direction of “The Women of Brewster Place” and “Take Me Out,” both at Celebration Theatre. He directed The Blank’s productions of “The Jazz Age” and “The Temperamentals.” Others include “Haram! Iran!,” “Three Tall Women,” “Stupid Kids,” “Beautiful Thing,” and, most recently, the critically acclaimed and Ovation Recommended world premiere production of “Justin Love” at Celebration Theatre. Matthews also served as assistant director on “Dead End” at the Ahmanson Theatre and “The Cherry Orchard” at the Mark Taper Forum.

For those who like a little spice with their Christmas sugar, this tale of mass marketing, stressed out sales clerks, drunk Santas, screaming kids and the general insanity of the holidays is hilarious, witty, sardonic and unpredictable; mercilessly cutting through the Christmas spirit to point out what crazy things we do as human beings during the holidays.

The set design for “The Santaland Diaries” is by Sean Vasquez, lighting design is by Tim Swiss, costume design is by Michael Mullen, and sound design is by Warren Davis. The stage manager is Sarah A. Bauer, and the show is being produced for The Blank Theatre by Daniel Henning, Matthew Graber, and Noah Wyle.

Preview performances begin Friday, November 16 at 8pm, and continue on Saturday, November 17 at 8pm, Sunday, November 18 at 2pm, Tuesday, November 20 at 8pm, and Friday, November 23 at 8pm. Opening night is set for Saturday, November 24 at 8:00. There will be no performance on Sunday, November 25. The regular running schedule is Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm through December 16 only. All tickets are $30, and may be purchased by visiting www.TheBlank.com or by calling (323) 661-9827. The Stella Adler Theatre is located at 6773 Hollywood Boulevard, on the corner of Hollywood and Highland.