Before comedic scribe David Sedaris engulfed himself in metaphoric, self-deprecating flames and became a cult hero, he wrote an essay that speaks to the jaded feelings of those who walk the tinseled streets of the modern-day December. Santaland Diaries is a first-person account of his job as a Christmas elf in a New York City Macy's (presumably not under the supervision of the Miracle on 34th Street Santa Claus). It struck a chord with readers and NPR audiences as well as playwright Joe Mantello, who adapted it into a one-man play. For 10 years, David Sinaiko has posed as the diarist, the 33-year-old elf-in-training known as Crumpet, with restrained charm and a sly, dry wit. There's a lot to like about Crumpet's perspective on seasonal employment: The proposition, he says, won't be quite as sad as [dressing up as] some big french fry, out on a street corner. But the play is more than just a seasonal anti-antidepressive. It speaks to anyone who's gone slumming for work in a new, big city, facing questions from employers such as Why do you want to be [insert trivial, rent-covering job here such as] an elf? in addition to eight-hour days of cash-register training and motivational cheers. We're also reminded that undignified work doesn't necessarily attract undignified humans, even if the uniform consists of green velvet knickers and a perky hat decorated with spangles.
Dec. 21-24; Dec. 26-30, 2010