A Dysfunctional Theatre Company Production
THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES
By JEFF GOODE
The Red Room, 85 E. 4 St., NYC
November 29 through December 21, 2007
Directed by ROB BROWN
Set and Lighting Design JASON UNFRIED
Sound Design JUSTIN PLOWMAN
Publicity AMY OVERMAN
Geoffrey Warren Barnes III – Hollywood
Rob Brown – Dasher
Jennifer Gill – Vixen
Rachel Grundy – Blitzen
Amy Overman – Comet
Peter Schuyler – Cupid
Jason Unfried – Donner
Theresa Unfried - Dancer
In what has become an unlikely holiday tradition, unless you happen to be here in merry old New York City, Jeff Goode’s THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES has returned to the stage just in time to usher in another year of holiday cheer. The sordid saga of Santa gone wrong and the reindeer who have saddled up to the bar to tell all is kind of like a grown up Grinch tale, with a much more elusive and seedy happy ending.
You see, Santa has been bad, very bad. Word has it from the other seven reindeer that his treatment of Vixen will be his downfall. Jolly old Saint Nick is not just in danger of a cookieless Christmas Eve and the wrath of Mrs. Claus. There are allegations of sexual assault on multiple species of various ages in the toy shop and elsewhere, and rumors that Santa has driven Rudolph into a catatonic state. Now, a walkout by THE EIGHT could be the end of Christmas as we know it.
Enter THE EIGHT and their respective monologues. As the elite reindeer that pull that famous sleigh appear on stage to tell their individual observations, stories about and opinions of Santa and the whole sorted business, the picture becomes, if not clear, at least more in focus. Dasher resents Rudolph and the foggy night theory, but will not elaborate further. Cupid is out and proud and eager to tell all. Hollywood, the reindeer formerly know as Prancer, hates that claymation movie (you know the one) and fears that a film by Vixen will only hurt his sequel (Prancer 2). Blitzen is all grrrl rage and on Vixen’s side. Comet is like a born-again doe, who credits Santa with saving her from a life of drugs and crime. Dancer seems undecided about Santa, but loves ballet. Donner is a bad parent who knows too much. And Vixen, she is unapologetic and forthright.
For the most part, the reindeer are funny, though, as I have experienced with other productions of this play, there is never quite a connection between the actors and the audience, as if neither side of the fence is quite sure what the point of view here is supposed to be. Is it black comedy? Is it farce? Is this a righteous tale about rape and exploitation? Is this a simple bash at holiday tradition? Is some of this even supposed to be funny? As director, Rob Brown tends THE EIGHT with a light hand. Since the action mainly occurs when one of the reindeer is addressing the audience, the incidental staging consists of the actors entering, exiting, sitting at tables observing, reading or drinking. The sets are simple, creating the appearance of a small bar decorated for the holidays, and the music is holiday-themed. The reindeer "costumes" are limited to headband antlers.
Imperfect, angry, often funny, and most un-Christmaslike in themes, THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES is back for a limited time. Forget coal in their stockings and spiking the eggnog. If you are looking for holiday jeers, this is the ticket.
- Kessa De Santis -