Actor and director Mike Dempsey is helping our fair town get in the Christmas spirit this month with his one-man show “Santaland Diaries,” based on an essay by writer David Sedaris. This Christmas show features festive scenery and props: a decorated tree, gifts, jingle bells, large murals of Santa’s workshop and a toy-making elf, and, of course, a real-life elf (well, Dempsey in an elf suit, at least). Unlike “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street,” however, “Santaland Diaries” is not necessarily uplifting nor feel-good, but it is laugh-out-loud funny.
“Santaland Diaries” was inspired by David Sedaris’s time working as a Christmas elf one holiday season in Macy’s department store. As a middle-aged man working dressing and working as an elf, the job was perfect for this observer of the inane to transcribe into the essay that would bring him into the public eye. At opening night on Friday, Mike Dempsey took Sedaris’s unique brand of dry and often self-deprecating humor and brought it and the audience to life, eliciting wry smiles and bursts of laughter.
Bandon is lucky to claim Mike Dempsey as one of its own. A talented actor, director, and playwright, Mike is a member of S.A.G. (Screen Actors’ Guild) and has been on stage and in films for many years. He could even be seen at Chicago’s famous Second City where scores of famous actors and comedians have gotten their starts over the years. Locally, Mike has directed several plays at the Sprague Theater, including locally written “Bethlehem Road” last December.
There are three more chances to see “Santaland Diaries:” Wednesday, December 7; Tuesday December 13; and Wednesday, December 14. All shows are at Brewed Awakenings and begin at 7:00. The $10 tickets can be purchased at Brewed Awakenings ahead of time or at the door. The humor is rather adult at times, so consider leaving younger children at home.