H-LOCAL SPOTLIGHT

Nov 29, 2013 10:57 AM by Dan Shadwell

"Miracle on 34th Street" and "Santaland Diaries" offer holiday entertainment contrast at SLO Little Theatre

One of the great things about the holidays, is all the fun, seasonal entertainment.
This year, the San Luis Obispo Little Theatre is presenting a double-header: the classic, "Miracle on 34th Street," followed by a satirical look at the life of a Macy's elf in the one-man show, "Santaland Diaries."
The 1947 film, "Miracle on 34th Street is such a standard during the holidays, actor Kevin Harris says, you have to assume any audience coming to see a staged version, will have some basic expectations.
"We have to be true to the movie. People are so familiar with that story that we can't veer away from that too much," Harris explains. "There are points that are iconic, that people have absolutely locked in their heads from seeing the movie and if we faithfully recreate those moments on-stage, it'll be different enough and unique enough and Little Theatre specific enough, that people will have a wonderful experience."
If that sweet tale leaves you in the mood for something more sardonic, stick around after "Miracle" for a look inside the life of a man who takes a job alongside Santa,...as an elf. Harris gets into character as Crumpet, the elf, and steps onto the SLO Little Theatre set, made to look like Santa's big chair.
"All of the Santa's have different routines," he says, his voice altered for a more nasal tone. "Some of them want the child's name, so as you're leading the youngsters from the magic tree, (you ask) "what was your name again?"
Harris pauses, before continuing the monologue.
"It's right here on the tip of my mind, where I can't get at it," he says, as though Crumpet is speaking to a child in line.
"...and then they tell you their name and you say, 'That's right!...Van!' "
"... and then you lead them to Santa's house and you say, 'let me just see if Santa's ready.' "
Harris leans over toward the vacant Santa chair as though whispering in St. Nick's ear.
"...and then you poke your head in, and you say, ' "Van!' "
"..and then half the time, you usher the child into the house, and Santa says, 'Stan! it's so good to see you!' "
Harris explains that his disgruntled character evolves a more and more irascible tone.
"Crumpet discovers his gripes as the show goes on," Harris says, smiling.
"You know, he's in desperate need of a job--he's unemployed, recently moved to New York City, it's based on David Sedaris' real life and real experience as a Macy's Santa elf and as he kind of gets entrenched in the system, which is Macy's Santaland, he's presented with several different things that absolutely blow his mind in terms of things to gripe about in that system."
"Miracle on 34th Street" runs through December 22nd at the SLO Little Theatre, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at 7, with Saturday and Sunday matinees, as well.
"Santaland Diaries" follows the shows on Friday and Saturday nights, with the curtain time at 9:15.
For tickets and more information, just go to the ksby.com homepage and click on "links."

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