‘True Life’: I’m an elf at ‘Santaland’

Michelle Collins

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” for some of us.

Many people enjoy the holiday season: the spirit, the lights, the joyful attitudes of people everywhere. But for David Sedaris, best-selling author and writer of “The Santaland Diaries,” this is not the case. Instead, he is a 33-year-old man wearing tights and working as an elf at Macy’s Santaland in New York City.

At the Long Wharf Theatre on Wednesday night, Thomas Sadoski, whose television credits include “Law & Order” and “Happy Hour,” played “Crumpet” the elf, acting out Sedaris’ real-life experiences through hilarious satire. The satire, which is directed by Kim Rubinstein, lasts a little over an hour with Sadoski explaining what it’s really like to be an elf during Christmas. Sedaris’ entertaining experiences had the audience in a constant uproar of laughter. Sedaris’ satire shows the real person behind the smiling Christmas character in a department store’s display window. Instead of being a customer looking at “Crumpet” the elf through the window, it’s “Crumpet” looking at the customers and telling us what he sees.

Sadoski, through the words of Sedaris, jokes about how he gets the job as an elf and comes to the sad realization that he is 33 years old applying for a job where he has to dress in tights and velvet. As he continues to explain the application process, such as having to take a drug test, Sadoski dresses in his elf costume which he feels immediately emasculates him. The candy cane-striped tights, the glittery shorts, and the velvet green jumper had the audience in hysterics.

Once he gets the job, Sadoski goes on to explain the type of people he has to deal with while he stands on the Santaland display. He jokes about how foreigners come to see Santa, but can’t speak enough English to vocalize their request. Sadoski also said his sister taught him some sign language, so when deaf people come through the line he can communicate with them and tells them how Santa has brain tumors and probably won’t survive. He also jokes about the little kids that come through, with missing noses and no parents, and watching Santa trying to hold himself back from asking “And what would you like for Christmas?”

All jokes aside, however, at the end of the satire, Sadoski tells the audience what happens at work with only a few days left until Christmas. A little girl comes through the line to sit on Santa’s lap and Santa tells her she is the most beautiful little girl he’s ever seen. He asks the girl’s mother if she tells her daughter enough that she loves her, and tells the mother to give her daughter a kiss. He calls the father over and asks him if he takes time off from work to be with his daughter, and tells him to also give her a kiss. Sadoski explains that when he saw this happen he was reminded of the true meaning of Christmas and the holidays: love and family. “Crumpet” then goes over to his boss to share with her the joy of Christmas, and when he begins to speak to her, she starts yelling and swearing at him. His short-lived reminder of the true meaning of the holidays vanishes.

To see this hilarious, realistic and heartwarming comedy of “The Santaland Diaries,” catch the performances that are going on through December 31st at the Long Wharf Theatre. Curtain times are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Call (203) 787-4284 for tickets.