By Sam Adams
Photo by Richard K. Hogle
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Wino
It makes sense to fashion a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer character off Charles Bukowski. Both pop-cultural archetypes have big red noses (Bukowski from a career of professional alcoholism, Rudy from some sort of unexplained nasal phosphorescence); both were social outcasts before they got famous; they’re both horny—in their own way.
I wonder if playwright Matt Hanf had any of this in mind when he scripted his one-act play "You Can't Get a Decent Margarita at the North Pole." Hanf is a two-time winner of The Seven, Fusion Theatre Company's annual short-play competition. The premiere of his new production is being presented by Fusion under the direction of Jacqueline Reid at The Cell Theatre (700 First Street NW). Cell owner and Fusion Executive Director Dennis Gromelski describes the 80-minute play: "It's a completely alternative take that starts out with Rudolph filing a worker's comp claim against Santa." Rudolph is a boozy bard who spends his free time making mischief, waxing poetic and drinking. (Sounds kind of like a Christmas version of Bukowski’s Post Office.)
From there, Santa is besieged by a temptress elf named Rita who tries to wrestle him away from Mrs. Claus—who, it so happens, has taken up skeet shooting. Thickening the plot, her shooting coach is the Tooth Fairy, and he's a mafioso and archenemy of Saint Nick.
The play is recommended for mature(r) audiences. Between potential infidelities, mob threats and lubricated humor, that sounds about right. "They spend a lot of time in the bar," Gromelski says. "I think everyone in the play is drunk at some point.” And as we all know, drunk people are fun to watch. Especially when they’re wearing elf shoes.
"You Can't Get a Decent Margarita at the North Pole"
Thursday and Friday, Dec. 22 and 23, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 24, 2 p.m.
Tickets: $30, $25 students and seniors. $10 for students on Thursday
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