Holiday Plays Bad Men Should—or Should Not—Avoid

If 2017 has taught us anything over and over and over again, it’s that men who use their status and position to intimidate or coerce women into sex are worse than anything this side of local theater programming in the month of December. Sure, the various A Christmas Carols and Nutcrackers and assorted home-for-the-holidays fare can be heartwarming, sentimental and encapsulate the real meaning of the season. But they can also be as yawn-inducing as hell on cleaning day.

So why not combine these two scourges of society by applying a sexual-predator metric to OC Weekly‘s annual round-up of holiday shows? We’ll list some of the shows on tap this month and apply our SPF (sexual predator factor) for each. The higher the SPF on a scale of 1 to 10, the more lecherous pigs should avoid it.

And before you gnaw your pearls over how this is a rude and insensitive dismissal of a vitally important social ill that must be addressed, we’ll beat you to it: It is. But so is sexual predation.

A Christmas Carol. The only thing that got a buzz in Scrooge’s withered nutsack was the thought of making dough. In fact, he actually spurned his one female love interest ever to devote his life to accumulating profit. Since money means power and power means bad men behave like assholish louts, it merits a bit higher on the Bad Man scale. SPF: 3. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-5555; Through Dec. 30. $24-$75; also at Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, (562) 494-1014; Through Dec. 24. $24.

The Holiday Gem, Holiday Voices and A Very Merry Unscripted Christmas. Don’t believe there’s anything trigger-inducing in any of these shows. The first is a musical revue of traditional Christmas songs. The second is seven new one-act plays by local playwrights (then again, can we trust local playwrights to not be sex-crazed?).The third is an improvisational piece created each night based on the “aesthetic” of Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. SPF: 1. The Holiday Gem at GEM Theatre, 12852 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 741-9550; Through Dec. 17. $26-$30. Holiday Voices at Stagedoor Repertory, 1045 N. Armando St., Anaheim; Through Dec. 10. $12-$15. A Very Merry Unscripted Christmas at Modjeska Playhouse, 21084 Bake Pkwy., Irvine, (949) 445-3674; Through Dec. 23. $15-$28.

It’s a Wonderful Life. Nothing to see here—on the bad man scale, that is. Just the latest installment of an old-time radio enactment of maybe the best Hollywood holiday story ever told. SPF: 1. STAGEStheatre, 400 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 535-4483; Through Dec. 17. $20-$22.

Mr. Burns. Not a holiday play! Instead, it’s an award-winning Anne Washburn play produced by Alchemy Theatre Co. about a group of post-apocalyptic survivors piecing together from memory the Simpsons episode “Cape Feare.” SPF: Who cares? It’s not a holiday play! Costa Mesa Playhouse, 661 Hamilton St., Costa Mesa, (949) 650-5269; Through Dec. 16. $18-$20.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. The Maverick’s annual homage to the cultish it’s-so-bad-it’s-good sci-fi film. No sense of patriarchal domination in this one, and kids pay only $10, so we have no issues here. SPF: 1. Maverick Theater, 118 E. Walnut, Fullerton, (714) 526-7070; Through Dec. 23. $10-$20.

Tinseltown Christmas. Uh-oh. This is a new musical comedy written by Chana Wise and Carl Johnson that features a very sick-of-Christmas Monica Ness visited Christmas Eve by—GASP!—ghosts of big-name Hollywood icons! But they’re Judy Garland, Jimmy Stewart, Natalie Wood and Bing Crosby, and, last we heard, Stewart was an okay dude. SPF: 5 (pills, rumored sexual assaults and psychological abuse of kids, while not solely limited to bad men, sure sound like bad-man things). Attic Theater, 2834 S. Fairview, Santa Ana, (714) 662-2515; Through Dec. 10. $15-$25.

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues. Now, we’re talking! Had we been listening 14 years ago, when the Chance first staged this Jeff Goode play about a lecherous Santa Claus and his female reindeer blowing the whistle on his pervy ways, maybe we could have avoided watching so many men get exactly what they deserve. SPF: 10. Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma, Anaheim, (888) 455-5212; Through Dec. 23. $21-$35.

An A Dolt’s Only XMA$ Pageant. The Reverend Slappy White has assembled his usual motley collection of actors, musicians and ne’er-do-wells for another R-rated, irreverent stab at the holidays. This one includes everything from Sally Brown educating Linus Van Pelt about consent, Harvey Weinstein visited by three ghostly apparitions, elves standing up for dick, exposed mammary glands and, most perverse, someone singing opera. SPF: 1,000. STAGEStheatre, 400 E. Commonwealth, Fullerton, (714) 525-4484; Dec. 22, 8 p.m. $10.

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