By Dave Barton
By LP Hastings
By Sarah Bennett
By LP Hastings
By Jena Ardell
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
By Joel Beers
T.S. Eliot may have had a soft spot for April, but in terms of theater, there is no crueler month than December. Shows about Christmas, shows set during Christmas, and shows that salute—and occasionally even desecrate—the season dominate theater programming in the month of December.
And if you're like us (and really, who isn't like us?), the presence of so much seasonal theater can be quite irritating; 30 days of been-there, yawned-through-that theater is really hard to get up for.
Which is why we like to be stoned, drunk, gagging on gakkers or otherwise insane in the membrane whilst watching theater in December. And now, thanks to the crack-addled staff of the OC Weekly Theater Department, you, too, can enjoy the holidays in fine form. Not only are we listing which theaters are producing Christmasy shows this month, but we're also going to tell you what type of substance you should ingest, imbibe or inject in order to fully appreciate said shows.
Why? Because we can. And because we think it's kinda lame that a) so many theaters schedule only Christmas shows during the Christmas season and b) so many people will only fork out cash to see a Christmas show during the month. And if we're going to be bitter and spiteful about having to see so many frigging holiday shows this month, then damn it, we're also going to be ripped out of our gourds.
And now, in reverse alphabetical order, the shows. . . .WISH YOU WERE HEREand A TWISTED CHRISTMAS. This world premiere of Orange County playwright Joseph Hullett's holiday tale is about Abel Joiner, an aging baby boomer who's fired from his fertilizer-plant job and whose "happiness-sharing scheme" lands him in a wacko ward on Christmas Day. If that ain't enough, it's followed by a Midnight Maddness Production of sketch comedy that promises to deride and ridicule our most sacred Christmas traditions: Santa, elves, sex and cows. Drug of choice:if it's as weird as it sounds, a hip flask and some antihistamines should suffice. But better bring along a can of Krylon and a plastic bag just in case. Chance Theatre, Anaheim Hills, (714) 777-3033.Wish You Were Here opens Thurs., Dec. 2. Through Dec. 19;A Twisted Christmas opens Fri. Through Dec. 18. $5-$7.LA POSADA MAGICA. A distinctly Latin spin on the Christmas story, this show focuses on a young girl, disenchanted with Christmas, who reluctantly joins a posada, a tradition in many Latin communities in which Joseph and Mary's search for lodging is re-enacted. Drug of choice:mescaline. Where this show works best is its blending of supernatural magic and heartfelt realism. It's also religious and ritualistic and Mexican and Native American, and if that doesn't sound like a recipe ripe for a desert-like hallucination, we don't know our button-like tops of cacti. South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, (714) 708-5555. Opens Dec. 12. Through Dec. 26. $13-$30.AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS SHOW AND ICE CREAM SOCIAL. This year's version of Orange Coast College's annual kids-oriented seasonal celebration includes as its centerpiece the world premiere of local playwright David Scaglione's melodrama, Christmas at the Longhorn Sage Saloon.It also features carols, vaudeville acts and the annual children's joke contest. Drug of choice:a nice, big fatty of mid-grade Columbian. You don't want anything so potent that you freak out midway through the show—just something to lower the blood sugar to the optimal level in order to fully enjoy the ice cream and Christmas cookies all members of the audience are treated to. And boy, won't those jokes be funny then? Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5880. Opens Thurs., Dec. 2. Through Dec. 12. $6-$9.IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. According to the press release, this Irvine Adult School adaptation of the 20th-century Christmas fable will celebrate not only the season but also "the American philosophy of life: that hard work, fair play, and the love and support of family and community will be rewarded." Drug of choice:a hip flask of bourbon. Sounds like a lesson in good, old-fashioned American civics to us, which sounds like the perfect time for an excuse to engage in some good, old-fashioned American clandestine alcoholism. Irvine Adult School at University High School, Irvine, (949) 936-7454. Opens Fri. Through Sun. $7-$10.THE GLORY OF CHRISTMAS. Once again, blissfully oblivious to the true message of Jesus, this reigning temple of excess offers up its overpriced, overblown version of the Nativity, complete with flying angels, real sheep (and not just the chumps who go there), real donkeys (and not just the Reverend Bob), camels, elephants . . . Well, you get the picture. Once again, here's hoping one or more of this menagerie takes a big, steaming dump onstage. Drug of choice: A can of paint and a sock are highly recommended if you're going in. Or you could make a statement by staying out in the parking lot with a big dawg of Night Train and pissing in the flower beds. Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, (714) 544-5679. Through Dec. 30. $15-$30.4TH ANNUAL A DOLT'S ONLY XMA$ PAGEANT. This sick, twisted holiday entry, which also includes music and poetry, features such high-class theatrical fare as Three Wise Guys (think Three Wise Men) bent on rubbing out some punk kid born under a star and a suicidal, crack-smoking, whoremongering Gorge Daily (think George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life), who encounters a guardian spirit who encourages him to just jump. It's hosted by that Beantown booze hound himself, Ted Kennedy (think Ted Kennedy). Drug of choice:this bunch of creative degenerates is sure to have primo shit lying all over the place. Maybe they'll share. In case they don't, bring along any expired prescription drugs for a mix 'n' match. Stages, Fullerton, (714) 525-4484. Opens Dec. 10. Through Dec. 19. $3-$6. A FIST FULL OF CHRISTMAS. In this free-wheeling comedy, written by Todd Langwell, a motley collection of friends finds itself caught up in a battle royale between a big jolly guy in a red suit and his elves and a villianness named Dorella Corvette and her band of weasel people, including her head henchman, Remo, the Weasel Boy. Drug of choice: lots of beer, preferably cheap and domestic. This isn't a highbrow or particularly subtle Christmas comedy, so why should you pretend to be a purveyor thereof? If beer isn't seasonal enough, try a bottle of Andre Cold Duck. Stages, Fullerton, (714) 525-4484. Opens Fri. Through Dec. 19. $12. CHRISTMAS AT THE DEPOT. This holiday offering features a festive, all-singing, all-dancing revue of classic carols and other favorite Christmas songs as an alternative to old geezers plagued by ghosts and fat guys stuck in chimneys. Drug of choice:this is sure to be a wholesome, family affair, so we recommend the traditional hot cider—fortified with tasteless, odorless 200-proof wood alcohol. Very discreet for those family events. La Habra Depot Theatre, La Habra, (562) 694-3237. Opens Fri. Through Dec.18. $10-$12. CHARLES DICKENS' CHRISTMAS NOVELLA. There are at least five versions of Dickens' A Christmas Carolon local boards this month. They include the traditional: South Coast Repertory's 20th production of Jerry Patch's adaptation and Fullerton College's production of Israel Horovitz's Scrooge and Marley.They include the irreverent spoofs: Inspecting Carolat the Grove Theater Center and the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of . . .at the Vanguard Theatre Ensemble. They include the frightening: a musical version at Musical Theatre Village. Drug of choice:acid can only help to enhance the ghost scenes for those shows on a limited budget. For the more faithful adaptations of the ubiquitous tale, try spiked eggnog with a Seconal chaser. Maybe when we wake up, it will all be over. Check the theater listings in Calendar for your Dickens fix. ANOTHER 10-MINUTE CHRISTMAS. Another round of 10-minute plays from that wacky, prolific bunch at New Voices Playwrights Workshop. From an investigative reporter who has to get past Santa's press agent for an exclusive interview to a tattooed, bar-hopping woman in search of extra Christmas cash, this evening promises to offer something for everyone. And if you're not everyone, well, at least they're short. Drug of choice:a bag of large balloons and a nitrous tank. A decently filled balloon can last a good 10 minutes. Alternate choice: amyl nitrate, just in case they've got Streisand as the pre-show music again. Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse, Costa Mesa, (949) 225-4125. Opens Dec. 11. $10-$12.