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A 33-year-old Christmas elf named Crumpet tells his tale, hilarity ensues

By by dianna wray/dwray@vicad.com
Nov. 23, 2011 at 5:23 a.m.


IF YOU GO

WHAT: "The Santaland Diaries"

WHERE: The Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave., Houston

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Dec.. 31

COST: Tickets start at $25

WHAT: "A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story"

WHERE: The Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave., Houston

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday through Dec. 27

COST: $25-$79

WHAT: "Imprinting the Divine: Byzantine and Russian Icons"

WHEN: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday, through March 18.

WHERE: 1515 Sul Ross St., Houston

COST: Free

The holidays can be exhausting.

Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays, I really do, but it does get to me Charlie Brown-style, the way it looks like a giant Christmas decoration-eating monster threw up on itself.

Luckily, for those craving a hint of delicious comedy, along with the more traditional Christmas fare, there is a production of "The Santaland Diaries," the story of David Sedaris's season working as one of Santa's little helpers at Macy's. Sedaris flunked the drug test, but he still got hired to be a Christmas elf. Some might scratch their heads in surprise, but Sedaris knew why they hired him.

"They hired me because I am short. Everyone they hired is short. I am one of the taller elves," Sedaris, aka Crumpet the Elf says at the beginning of the play. He is a 33-year-old man dressed in green velvet knickers, a green velvet smock, topped off with a perky green hat, playing an elf.

The play, showing at the Alley Theater in Houston, is based on the NPR story that put the famed humorist on the map. During his time serving as a department store Santa lackey, Crumpet sees the dark-side of holiday. Bratty kids, indulgent parents, callous husbands and dispirited wives. Turns out to take a gander at the dark-but-extremely-funny side of mankind, you should just go hang out in a line waiting for Santa.

One parent turns to Crumpet, and asks him to tell her screaming kid that he'd better behave or Santa will put coal in his stocking.

Crumpet replied in typical Sedaris fashion, telling the boy that Santa doesn't traffic in coal anymore. "Instead, if you're bad, he comes to your house and steals things," Crumpet says to the boy.

Christmas is a wonderful time, and I'll put in far too many hours enjoying different versions of "A Christmas Carol" (the Muppet one is the best) and all of that heartwarming Christmas stuff. I'll deck the halls, maybe even go wassailing, but if you're feeling a little overloaded, a little overwhelmed and plain worn out by our sudden lurch into holiday cheer, go see "The Santaland Diaries." Added bonus: no matter how awful your job is, this one sounds worse.

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