Austin, Texas, Stages David Sedaris’ Christmas Comedy

David Sedaris’ true-life work experience as Santa’s helper is brought to life

By: By Celina Carroll

Austin’s Zachary Scott Theatre is offering visitors a new twist on holiday entertainment. The theater, nicknamed the Zach, is showing comedy writer David Sedaris’ “The Santaland Diaries” through Jan. 10. The wickedly funny play is based on Sedaris’ true-life experiences when he took a job as an elf in “SantaLand” at a Macy’s department store.

Sedaris first garnered fame for his elf experience when he read the essay by the same title on National Public Radio in 1992. On this show, he went behind the scenes, describing his role as Crumpet, one of Santa’s more disgruntled elves. The essay also chronicled his experiences with misbehaving children and their parents through dry humor and acutely sarcastic observation. The short story was then adapted for stage by Joe Montello in 1996. Since then, the play has become a popular comedic contrast to more traditional shows such as “The Nutcracker” ballet.

Hannah Kenah, of the Austin Chronicle, said this about the Zach’s rendition of “The Santaland Diaries”: You will never think of elves the same way again ... this is the kind of humor that inspires dissent and controversy.”

The play is performed in the intimate round of the Whisenhunt Arena Stage at the Zach, and debuts on Nov. 27. The show is intended for more mature audiences, and tickets are $39.


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