The media has descended upon the North Pole where Santa Claus has been accused of sexual harassment by one of his reindeer.
No, that isn’t an actual news story but it sure sounds like one. Instead, it’s the basis of a dark Christmas comedy that was written many years before the recent spate of sexual assault allegations that have rocked Hollywood and the political world.
As part of its Fringe series, Spartanburg Little Theatre will present “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” in its intimate Black Box Theater at the Chapman Cultural Center. The show opens Thursday and continues through Dec. 16.
“When we first did this show 10 years ago, we just kind of laughed,” said SLT executive artistic director Jay Coffman. “Now, there’s a certain degree of seriousness about what (the characters) are saying, especially with what’s been going on in the cultural landscape with #MeToo and Harvey Weinstein and all these allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.”
Coffman, who is directing the production and appearing on stage as one of the reindeer, emphasized that the show contains explicit content and is intended for adults only.
“I don’t want to undersell the explicitness of the content,” he said. “It’s definitely not for everybody, and it’s also relatively dark. It takes some of your beloved holiday figures and accuses them of things that they’re not normally accused of in the traditional Christmas stories.”
In “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues,” which was written by playwright Jeff Goode, each of the members of Santa’s sleigh team demand to share their perspectives and a horrific tale of corruption and perversion emerges.
“It’s just eight monologues in a row,” Coffman said. “It’s sort of in the form of a press conference. Scandal has erupted at the North Pole, the media has descended upon it and the reindeer are now spewing forth their version of the events, which is not unlike what’s been happening a lot lately in the real world.”
Coffman plays a reindeer formerly known as Prancer, whom he said “changed his name after the ‘Prancer’ movie came out.”
The cast also includes Zach Ellis as Dasher, Cody Owens as Cupid, Connor Vetter as Blitzen, Stephen Harris as Comet, Sarah Hurley as Dancer, Robert Searle as Donner and Elizabeth Colson as Vixen.
The raunchiness of the script is unsettling at times and clearly geared toward audiences with a somewhat warped sense of humor.
“I would say if you like Christmas and you want a laugh, you will 110 percent enjoy yourself at this show,” said Vetter, whose character can be described as a feminist. “And if you don’t like the holiday but you like to laugh, you will really, really love this show. It’s hilarious, and it’s just so wild and so over-the-top.”