Monday, December 1, 2014
"Santaland Diaries" @ Portland Center Stage
I haven't seen David Sedaris' "Santaland Diaries" for many years, Portland Center Stage was in its old home as a tenant of the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, it was the final year before "Santaland" took a long hiatus. A few things are different in this incarnation: On the positive side, my personal view was much improved, (the front of the Elleyn Bye Studio vs. the rear of the Newmark.) On the negative side, PCS originally paired "Santaland" with Truman Capote's "Christmas Memory" and the contrast of Capote's melancholy with Sedaris' sardonic wit was sorely missed. Here's hoping that they revive the double-bill soon. I do not recall who played the role of Crumpet the Elf in the original production, but Darius Pierce, a local favorite of mine all the way back to his days with Theatre Vertigo is wonderful in the role. In fact, the reason I made sure to see "Santaland" this year was because I was reminded of how much I missed his unique stage-presence after seeing him in Third Rail's "Middletown". I can see why "Santaland" has been a PCS tradition for so many years, the tale of Sedaris' brief stint as a department store elf is just the thing for those who wish to laugh knowingly at forced holiday cheer.