Second Stage to host holiday doubleheader

Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008

The holidays bring all sorts of characters out of the woodwork.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

Actor Ben Brown will reprise his role as a Macy's department store elf in the one-man play "SantaLand Diaries," being performed this holiday season on the Second Stage at Perseverance Theatre. The play is based on an essay by David Sedaris.

"He in fact worked as an elf in Macy's SantaLand when he moved to New York many, many years ago before he was a successful writer," Brown said. "The play is about his real experiences in that very hard-to-believe-it's-a-job job."

The hour-long play is a light-hearted observation of what life is like as a department store elf, he said.

"It basically is a chronology from the moment he became aware of the job opportunity through ... actually applying for the job, getting the job, doing the job and seeing just how crazy people are in the holiday season, and indeed, all the time," Brown said.

"SantaLand Diaries" opens on the Second Stage as part of a holiday doubleheader with "A Christmas Carol" being presented by the Young Company. "A Christmas Carol" will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 11, through Saturday, Dec. 13, and again Dec. 18-20, followed by "SantaLand Diaries" at 9:30 p.m. On Sundays Dec. 14 and 21 the two shows will begin at 2 and 4:30 p.m. respectively. There also will be a special "dinner theater" performance of "SantaLand Diaries" beginning at 6 p.m. in the Gold Room at the Baranof Hotel on Dec. 21.

Brown has performed the one-man play numerous times since he first debuted it on the Second Stage in 2004. He performed it last weekend in Fairbanks and will perform a special showing at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 27, at the Out North theater in Anchorage.

Although the script is the same as in the past, Brown said he has worked with director Terry Cramer this year to revisit some aspects of the show and changed some of the blocking.

"I think people that have seen it before are likely to see a different play if they come see it again," he said. "I think there are a lot of new things that we are doing with it that make it fun."

Shona Strauser, the director of "A Christmas Carol," said the theater wanted to bring out a special family holiday show and decided on the famous Charles Dickens story about greedy old Ebenezer Scrooge and his redemptive journey of friendship, love and Christmas.

The show is comprised of 16 young actors all between the ages of 10 and 15. Aaron Abella plays Scrooge, Quinn White is Marley, Reilly Schrader-Dee performs as Bob Cratchit, Keely Ewing plays Tiny Tim, Brita Fagerstrom is the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ben Krall is the Ghost of Christmas Future, and Luke Sewell portrays the Ghost of Christmas Present.

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