THE SANTALAND DIARIES director Anthony Methvin is a bona fide holiday season fan. Usually, that means the holiday season starts on November 1st and last through the end of the year. This year, his holiday season began much earlier thanks to directing this holiday show, playing at Diversionary Theatre through December 22nd.
In between rehearsals for the show Anthony was able to chat about this show, holiday magic, and why THE SANTALAND DIARIES is still going strong after all of these years.
THE SANATALAND DIARIES show follows an out of work actor who takes the holiday job of Crumpet the elf, played by Wil Bethmannin, at the Herald Square Macy’s helping kids and families meet Santa.
Methvin says that it’s the idea of Christmas magic juxtaposed with the reality of Christmas shopping, stressed people, creating the “perfect” holiday, and all of it in the center of a department store that makes this show so interesting to bring to the stage.
What I think is really interesting in this play is the way the idea of Christmas magic buts up against reality and what happens when the two connect. I think the outcome is very different, but I think what’s exciting about SANTALAND, part of the reason why people love it is because they feel like they and go in and they know that someone understands the absurdity in the way that they do. They know they can walk in and we’re not going to pretend that Christmas isn’t insane.
The show, written by humorist and comedian David Sedaris based on his own personal time as an elf in Santaland. The show’s humor may cut through some of the candy cane sweetness that can sometimes overwhelm this season, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have warm holiday center at its core.
I love that we’ve been able to find ad a big beating heart in the middle of this play that happens in the center of the Christmas holiday universe. It doesn’t get more Christmas than Macy’s Santaland in the middle of Manhattan, in the Christmas season. That’s where we are able to try to find what is magic and why does Christmas pull at us the way that it does? Where is our sense of home and family and the coziness that Christmas brings? How and why do we try to find those feelings going into the biggest, brightest, loudest version of Christmas?
This holiday comedy has lasted this long because while it has that funny and irreverent core at its center it also has the more familiar story of someone trying to find the magic in the holiday season.
That’s why 20 plus years later people still do this play. At the end of the day there is something very timeless to a traditional Christmas narrative where someone’s faith in the holiday magic is tested and we get to see what shakes out when it is put to the test. It is subversive but it is also full of heart; it’s just sneaky about it.
THE SANTALAND DIARIES is playing at the Diversionary Theatre through December 22nd. For ticket and show time information please go to www.diversionary.org