Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bad Santaland: Three Questions with Crumpet the Elf

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 2:55 PM

David Foster
  • David Foster
The Santaland Diaries, David Sedaris' bawdy and rebellious recollection of his days working as an elf in Macy's SantaLand has become an unlikely holiday classic: A Christmas Carol for people who would rather eat bugs than sit through yet another production of A Christmas Carol. Dutifully Playhouse on the Square has revived Sedaris' story about weird Santas and worse children with musical theater stalwart David Foster taking on the coveted role of Crumpet, a snarky Elf with stems and seeds in his urine sample.

It's tempting to call Foster a triple threat performer but that would be unfair. Not only can the man sing, dance, and act, this year's Crumpet can dish. In the short span of three questions he not only manages to plug his current show and his next show, he also sneaks in some juicy remarks about Memphis actors Kara Winsett and Stephen Huff. Naughty and nice.

Intermission Impossible: Artists and actors are known for taking on some odd jobs... like being an elf, for example. What's the strangest job you've ever had?

David Foster: Never been an elf, but I was Goldy the reindeer at Goldsmith's during christmas one year. Horrible experience. Kara Winsett was Smitty the duck. We were Santa's friends. That has got to be the worst. Oh, Stephen Huff was some nameless lady pig who traveled around with us?!?!? A christmas pig? You'll have to ask him.

Santaland has been around for quite a while now and there have been many Crumpets. Do you have any interaction with Santa's former elves? Is it a friendly fraternity? Or do you make snide Sedaris-esque remarks behind one another's back.

I have not talked to any former elves except for Dave Landis. I like taking a fresh approach. I will say, and I think everyone would tell you, that I am a very different Crumpet. I tried to stay away from the deadpan Sedaris delivery. Because we are in the Memphian Room [Playhouse on the Square's cabaret space]. I work the whole room and I think my Crumpet is more physical than past elves.

Obviously you don't only do musicals, but a one man show without any singing or dancing is quite a departure. Is it a comfortable show for you?

I am very comfortable in this role and in this space. My sense of humor is very similar to Sedaris. I love a true cabaret, where you actually connect with the audience, instead of focusing somewhere over their heads. I do get to sing a tiny bit in this show. Only one phrase actually, and I do that as Billie Holiday. I can't wait for a straight drama. I need a break from comedy. Up next is Jacques Brel. Lots of singing, but not much comedy.

The Santaland Diaries
When: Through Dec. 22
Phone: 726-4656



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