By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – Where some may see candy canes, Christmas trees and a jolly Santa Claus, Crumpet the Elf sees screaming kids and frustrated parents – and he needs a drink.
David Sedaris’ “The SantaLand Diaires” is a one-man play depicting the time the writer worked as an elf in Macy’s SantaLand. Todd Barnett stars as Crumpet the Elf in the first play produced by Tupelo Community Theatre’s new side company, TCT Off Broadway.
“It’s mostly funny, but there are some touching moments,” said director Tom Booth. “There are all of these Santas he has to work with, and he has an encounter with what the real Santa would be like.”
It’s a challenge for Barnett, who must add in a few characterizations on top of playing the cynical Crumpet. For example, he said, he has to create a voice for a black Santa.
“It’s extremely challenging, but it’s an opportunity to stretch my legs as a character actor,” he said. “I’m trying to make (the characters) relateable.”
It’s the first production taking place at TCT’s new venue at 213 E. Franklin St. There’s not a backstage, so the spotlight’s on Barnett the whole time.
“It’s a lot more intimate. You’re forced to make eye contact,” Barnett said. “It’s just me out there. I like that it feels like you’re having a conversation with the audience.”
“The SantaLand Diaries,” the actor said, is a funny take on a cynical adult’s view of the holiday season.
“It will get you in the holiday spirit,” Barnett said. “I think everybody who sees the show can relate to all of the experiences: the crying kids, the rude people. But there’s a good meaning behind it.”
Dim the Lights
• What: TCT Off Broadway presents “The SantaLand Diaries”
• When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12-14
• Where: TCT Off Broadway, 213 E. Franklin Street, Tupelo
• Cost: $18/adults, $6/students
• Info: (662) 844-1935
• Extra: The play is not recommended for children.