Last modified: 1/8/2015 10:52:13 AM
Bah! Humbug! Working as an elf in Macy’s SantaLand isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be — not that it’s cracked up to be much in the first place.

So goes the tale of David Sedaris, author of “SantaLand Diaries,” an essay about the horrors of landing a job as a Macy’s elf while struggling to become an actor in New York City. The essay has since been adapted for a one-act, one-man play by Joe Mantello called “The SantaLand Diaries.” This weekend, the community theater group Actors’ Circle Theatre will be putting on the show, detailing Sedaris’ trials and travails as the pointy-toed Crumpet the Elf.

Scott Gardner of Rindge will be starring in the show as the crotchedy Crumpet. Gardner said in a recent interview that he has been intrigued by the play since he first saw it put on at the Peterborough Players five years ago. When ACT was looking for a holiday show, he suggested “The SantaLand Diaries.”

Usually, the theater company has a large cast of players to pull from, said Gardner, so he hesitated in suggesting a one-man show. But it is something he has been aspiring to for awhile, he said.

“As an actor, it excited me,” he said. “I like to do the comedies, and this sarcastic take on the regular holiday spirit was something that resonated with me. I like that it’s something so irreverent.”

Taking on a one-man show isn’t all sugar plums and candy canes, though, Gardner noted. For the first time, the show rests almost entirely on his shoulders. Not only is he the only character, but the show includes minimal sets and costumes. While that’s done deliberately so there’s not a lot going on in the background to distract the audience, it means that Gardner’s performance will carry a lot of weight.

“It’s a whole new level of pressure,” he said. “Normally, we do shows that try to involve as many people as we can. Now, there’s nobody to yell at but myself.”

He does have some advantages, however, he admitted. Gardner says he can relate to Sedaris’ negative take on the commercialization of Christmas, which leaves little room for spiritual connection. “It’s a little too easy,” he said, about identifying with his character. “I think a lot of people are going to think I’m typecast. I’m not one who buys into shopping and the commercial aspect.”

Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Monadnock Center History & Culture’s Bass Hall. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors and students. Reservations are recommended, and can be made by emailing or calling 924-3876. The presentation has been rated PG-13.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or She’s on Twitter 


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