published Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Chattanooga Theatre Centre's presentations are martinis for weary revelers


• What: "The SantaLand Diaries" and "Season's Greetings."

• When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 23-24, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Dec. 7-8.

• Where: CircleStage, Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St.

• Admission: $18 adults, $15 students.

• Phone: 267-8534.

• Website:

If people told the truth, they'd admit the Christmas season is not all eggnog, presents and chestnuts roasting by the open fire.

For hard-working elves, for instance, the season can be a bit tedious, all that kowtowing to Santa Claus and so forth. And those holiday letters -- well, who really wants to hear how wonderful Aunt Rose's kids are, when you know well and good they're spoiled, rotten brats.

The Chattanooga Theatre Centre has just the thing.

"The SantaLand Diaries" and "Season's Greetings," two holiday pieces by David Sedaris, will be offered on the CircleStage beginning Friday, Nov. 23.

The first is based on the humorist's employment as Crumpet the Elf in SantaLand at Macy's department store in New York City some years ago. The second is a bit of a twisted seasonal newsletter from a housewife desperately trying to hang on to her holiday traditions when everything around her is in a shambles.

"I think the trouble in America," said Brother Ron Fender, who is directing the production, "is that we have expectations of how Christmas is supposed to be. It's supposed to be the Hallmark Christmas, but it's not really. What David Sedaris has given us is a little reality check into our Christmas holiday. It's an antidote to all the Christmas spirit, which can be a little false, a little shallow. It's the other side of Christmas."

Each piece is done by one individual, Joshua Harrell taking on the role of Crumpet the Elf and Judy LaMance portraying the harried housewife.

However, Fender said the shows are not just stagnant pieces, but each has it own "living environment."

"There is a sense of action," he said. "It's not just spoken narrative."

Fender said one-person shows force actors to forge an even stronger rapport with audiences than in larger productions.

The holiday production, he said, is an adult show.

People will "have a good time," Fender said. "If you've had all the eggnog you can stand, come and have a martini."

Contact Clint Cooper at or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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