THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES (2015)

Director's Note

December 2015

 

Admittedly, this is not my first rodeo up at the North Pole. Not even five years ago, I first directed this play; this wickedly dark, menacingly beautiful piece written by Jeff Goode. It is one of those shows that has stayed with me ever since. Whether it’s the daring, deconstructive nature of the premise, the hyper-relevant themes present all throughout, or simply the eight distinctive personalities Mr. Goode has crafted from these caricatures of Christmas – these fictional reindeer have made an impact on my life.

 

After all of these years, I feel like I know them. I mean really, truly know them. And we all do, in some way. Somewhere in our lives we know a leader like Dasher, a derelict like Cupid, a diva like Prancer, a fighter like Blitzen, a loyalist like Comet, a mensch like Dancer, a failure like Donner, and even a victim like Vixen. Each of them offers a look into our culture; they’re a mirror, if you will, revealing the truths we never tell. And the humanity in their voices – fictional or not – should be cathartically palpable to anyone who’s watching. That’s part of why I’ve staged it so that they’re all present together, listening to one another every possible step of the way. This visibly establishes their relationships to one another, as well as provides the actors the circumstances from which to draw.

 

Yet in spite of this, it is not The Eight or even Rudolph at the core here: it is, of course, Kris Kringle! He is the single common denominator in each of these grueling stories and he’s the only one who’s bold enough to commit such heinous acts. After all, the institution of Santa Claus has already won the world over, bent it to its will in the name of honored “tradition.” Who would ever suspect him of doing any harm?

 

So, as you sit in your seat and watch this show unfold, you will undoubtedly think – at least once in its 90 minutes – that what you’re seeing and hearing cannot, in fact, be true; it’s ridiculous or absurd – maybe it’s even offensive! And that is precisely the point.

 

In the last year alone, we have seen a once wholesome, respected and generous individual – beloved throughout the world as one of TV’s iconic fathers – be identified as America’s most surprising rapist. And before any of his accusers courageously came forward, before any one of those women had the gall to share their story, no one would have believed it.

 

Who wants to believe it?

 

But the truth has a way of always coming to the light. And it is with that sentiment that I thank you for attending. I hope this is an experience you won’t soon forget.

 

Yours,

 

J.R. Westfall