On Dasher, on Dancer, on Probation!
Jeff Goode's dark holiday comedy, The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, finishes its New York return engagement, Dec. 22 at the Ohio Theatre downtown. The offbeat holiday show, staged by the adobe theatre company [sic], began performances Nov. 28. As of Dec. 18, tickets were still available for all remaining performances.
In Goode's play, Santa Claus has been brought up on charges of sexual harassment, including allegations of unsavory acts with Rudolph, Vixen and the elves. The Eight (part of Santa's elite sleigh-driving team) are witnesses prepared to testify for or against the big guy. Each has a different take on events. The big issue is whether Santa is an icon of goodness or a self-indulgent pervert.
Jeremy Dobrish, adobe's artistic director and helmer of the current Off Broadway revival of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), stages The Eight. In an October conversation with Playbill On-Line, Dobrish described The Eight as being, "Very funny and bleak. It's eight monologues from each of Santa's Reindeer — and things are pretty twisted up there. At first, it seems like a cartoon and silly, but by the end of the play, it's almost depressing. The show makes potent comments about society, Christmas and sexual harrassment. Santa's been doing some very naughty things."
Starring in The Eight are adobe company members Erin Quinn Purcell (who is also the show's costume designer), Kathryn Langwell, Arthur Aulisi, Frank Ensenberger, Vin Knight, alongside Jeremy Brisiel, Nina Hellman and Mather Zickel, according to the Jeffrey Richards press office. Desinging the show are Steven Capone (sets), Michael Gottlieb (lighting) and Jill B.C. DuBoff (sound). The Eight was first staged by adobe in 1995, and the company went on to do another Goode comedy, Poona the Fuckdog.
In the spring, adobe hopes to do another show, depending on the company's bank account. "We fear we're taking a funding hit," artistic director Dobrish told PBOL, alluding to the Sept. 11 terrorist catastrophe. "It's our tenth anniversary season, and we were doing a big push for private contributions. We thought this would be a great time to support adobe and the fact that we've been around for 10 years, which is a big accomplishment for an Off-Off-Broadway theatre company. But we haven't even sent the letters out yet. We're just now feeling maybe we can give it a try. We can't not give it a try. Money has to come in at some point, but a lot of Foundations are being hit hard. Can people support the arts a time like this?"
The annual budget for adobe ranges from $100-$150K a year. "People think we're bigger than we are," Dobrish said. "It's horrible. Our biggest liability is fundraising. A lot of companies who started when we did have done better because they're connected to a different world (such as Signature Theatre, the New Group, Drama Dept.). They have access to people who have celebrity or money. I've got nothing against them, it's great. I wish we had it."
Also a playwright, director Dobrish has penned Eight Days Backwards which looks certain for the Vineyard season schedule in spring or fall. He's also adapting Carlo Gozzi's The King Stag — in rhyming iambic pentameter — on a commission from Theatre for a New Audience.
For tickets ($15) and information on The Eight: Reindeer Monologues at the Ohio Theatre on Wooster St., call (212) 279-4200.
— By David Lefkowitz