Thursday, November 15, 2007

Reindeer already?

Happy Holidays, Everybody! It is annoyingly starting to look a lot like Christmas. Any yes, this blogger who used to be nicknamed "Mary Christmas"(a nickname earned as the producer/promoter/stage manager/performer in those wonderful Byrd Theatre Christmas shows all illegally put on during the Nelson era of the theater)has turned into a Scrooge before the cool parts of the story. If Christmas was kept in the confines of a reasonable time frame on the calendar, I might enjoy it more. I am a traditionalist. I like to enjoy each holiday singularly in its proper time. I loath Christmas decorations up before Halloween. I feel that Thanksgiving deserves an autumnal harvest theme and proper notoriety rather than an obscure place between Halloween and the big commercial gig. In fact I think Thanksgiving is the most important Holiday of the year but it gets overlooked because it is not so commercial.
Anyway- sorry for the soapbox action. I saw the Christmas season Holiday opener (as Dave so aptly put it), "The 8: Reindeer Monologues" at Fielden's last night. I enjoyed it but Warning: This show goes from irreverently funny to dark dark dark. Not "Santaland Diaries" dark. Really dark. I had a conversation with Ross Aitkin following the performance and we chatted about alternative ways to go with the material and he said he searched for them but found that it definitely needed to go into the very thick very scary forest of emotion that it does. I am now itching to see other productions of it just to see what other treatments other companies come up with if at all. I will also chat with my friend, Beth Warren, who originated one of the roles when she was acting in Chicago to get her take on it.
Look for the review in an upcoming STYLE issue. It is a good little production and everyone should go see it. Jase Smith and Suzanne Ankrum are wonderful at creating not one but two characters each in the show.
I also had an interesting conversation with actor,Chris Hester after the show. Turns out he is a devoted fan of this blog- THANK YOU, CHRIS! and he is producing a musical showcase slated for Firehouse in March. He promised to keep us posted.
Buckle your seat belts everyone and prepare for the Holiday ride. Look for a good theater question in my next blog.
See you at the theater!
Mary B.


Andrew Hamm said...

I'm with you, Mary. It has generally been my policy that no Christmas music is heard in my home until after Thanksgiving dinner has been served.

However, now that I work as Director of Contemporary Worship at Redeemer Lutheran, I have to think a little sooner than that, so I'm in a Christmas music mood starting in October. Last year I recorded a Christmas album, so that happened even sooner.

I was quite disturbed when a Christmas aisle materialized in Wal-Mart before Halloween this year, though.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the initial commentary.

Yes, we do go a bit dark with the show, but I think it will generate the provocative discussion that some shows are meant to drive. In the show, I think of the Reindeer as real people and the North Pole setting as a backdrop to create a social commentary on scandal - how the media reacts, how people are impacted, how lives change... daring, but interesting.

I look forward to your review in Style. You and David are doing a great service to the Richmond theater community with this blog and I was so happy to talk with you after the show. One note, my one man showcase will likely be at Fielden's Cabaret Theater, but thanks for the shout out and more to come on this.

I look forward to a great holiday theater season.


Chris Hester

Le Synge Bleu said...

you think its annoying to you??...try being a jew in the south!! no one even knows there are other holidays besides christmas, much less acknowledges them! and that is my very legitimate inner scrooge who has had christmas unwillingly shoved down her throat her whole life when its not even her freakin holiday!

Anonymous said...

First Mary, a big AMEN on the too-soon Christmas season! I love all things autumnal, and it gets pushed right to the back burner as Halloween approaches. For me, the real joy of the Christmas season is that it is the ONE time of the year people all over make a real effort to reconnect. But really...can't we celebrate Christmas for just, oh, I don't month only??? When did the twelve days of Christmas become sixty???

And speaking of twelve days of Christmas, that's a nice seque into your discussion of "Reindeer Monologues" (which I'll see tomorrow), since it features my dear friend Suzanne Ankrum (who I enjoyed performing with earlier this year in "Twelfth Night" at Richmond Shakespeare). I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed her performance, and I'm sure I will as well though I may be somewhat biased. Your candid comments I'm sure are much appreciated by her and the "Reindeer" cast. As for the material...I'll be interested to see for myself how it plays. I'm intriqued by material that pokes holes in the overbloated commercial machine that Christmas has become (if my wife watches Susan Lucci again this year in "Ebbie" on Lifetime, I may have to commit hara kiri with a stake of mistletoe!) So, I'm fully prepared for the dark side of Santa Claus. Should be fun!

Ho ho ho everyone!

Dave T said...

Amen, Ms. Bleu! Every freaking year I have to listen to the good Christians at my work complain about how Christmas has somehow been marginalized because the greeters at Wal-Mart have to say "Happy Holidays!" instead of "Merry Christmas!" OY!

I've learned to become very quiet around the holidays lest I inadvertently take the head off of some otherwise well-meaning Christmas reveler... which is one of the many reasons I love the dark dark holiday plays.