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The Santaland Diaries

JAY HORTON
7:30 pm Tuesdays-Sundays, 2 pm Saturdays and Sundays, 12 pm Thursdays. Closes Dec. 30., Tuesday November 27 | $30-$59.
Gerding Theater
128 NW 11th Ave.
 
The Santaland Diaries, David Sedaris' brutally comedic account of a stint playing wage-slave elf “Crumpet” for Macy's annual Yuletide installation, always seemed an odd evergreen to brighten the theatrical season of giving. As a one-man show with minimal staging (save a crimson-filtered flourish once the Santa/Satan anagram is broached), the unflinching depiction of a shopping public too boastful or benumbed to temper their worst instincts doesn't exactly ennoble the audience. Amid nastier moments (talk of special children with one in the fifth row, say), it's a Christmas miracle that the spirit never dims. For this fourth Portland Center Stage run, Darius Pierce dons the striped leggings for the first time, and the local stage and television veteran navigates the poles of impish self-deprecation and scathing misanthropy with an eye toward sheer momentum. Pierce, whose shiny dome and mischievous mien helplessly suggest Dr. Evil, doesn't linger excessively over his observations and, playing a character as fractured by seasonal expectations as anyone he encounters, he wrings genuine sentiment from the sappiest time of the year.

Where: Gerding Theater
Phone: 445-3700
Address: 128 NW 11th Ave.
Website: pcs.org

 
 
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