November 13, 2008
Students who aren’t into the traditional Christmas story can count on “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” for something a little off kilter. “The Eight” is a dark Christmas comedy in which one of Santa’s eight reindeer, Vixen, accuses Santa of sexual molestation. Each reindeer then proceeds to tell his or her side of the story.
Ben Howard, director and producer of the student production, said the show is about the working conditions of the North Pole.
“‘The Reindeer Monologues’ is a series of each one of Santa’s eight reindeer giving their side of the story,” said Ben Howard, senior social sciences major, director and producer of the student production. “It takes child friendly holiday characters and puts them in an adult situation.”
Howard said there is more to each monologue than whether or not they think Santa was “naughty.”
“They are giving their point of view as to how they came about,” Howard said. “These eight reindeer are the most elite reindeer in the world and they talk about how they came to join the team. There is a lot of personal background on top of giving their point of view.”
Howard became interested in the show after performing in it in Oklahoma.
“I was in the show a year and a half ago at an art festival in Oklahoma,” Howard said. “Jeff Goode (the playwright) takes children’s themes and gives them a less than children-friendly undertone.”
Erin Mullane, sophomore theater major, is one of only two actors in the show.
“It’s the first of several adult monologues that (Goode) has written,” Mullane said. “This show is basically about Santa’s eight reindeer and their kind of testifying as to whether Santa has raped Vixen.”
“The Eight” is the first show that Howard has directed at Emporia State.
“It was fun and challenging to sit down with actors that I really enjoy and respect and to work with each of them and the characters so the entire show is cohesive,” Howard said. “Doing a show for the first time can be hard to find what works and what doesn’t.”
Howard said that he couldn’t pick a favorite character from the show.
“Each one of the characters is so different and I really enjoy something about each of them,” Howard said. “It’s a fun thing about being a director. Vixen has the best combination of punch lines and startling discussion over a person’s body and what ‘no’ means, so I guess I really enjoy Vixen’s monologues.”
Mullane said each reindeer has their own quirks that make them stand out.
“For example, Vixen is a feminist,” Mullane said. “Picture a speaker at a 60s feminist rally and that’s her. Donner is a hick and Dancer is a Jew, so they all have their own quirks that make them interesting. My favorite monologue is Vixen’s. She is the most fun and she’s loud, out there and aggressive. She has the best jokes of the show.”
Mullane said the first time she read the show was a year ago when Howard showed her the script.
“(He) brought it back for me to read and I thought it was funny,” Mullane said. “It seemed like something the student body here would appreciate.”
Roy Michael Johnson, senior art and theater major, will play the roles of all of the male reindeer. Johnson said that “The Eight” was a different kind of role to prepare for.
“It’s different because it doesn’t seem like there is so much preparing rehearsal wise because it’s readers theater and we have the script right in front of us, but we still have to act, so it doesn’t sound like we are reading from a script,” Johnson said.
The actors began preparing for the show about a month ago.
Student’s can catch “The Eight Reindeer Monologues” at the Ronald Q. Fredrickson Theatre at Roosevelt Hall this Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. The show is free and seating is on a first come, first serve basis.