Holidays on Ice

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Editorial Review

A very Sedaris Christmas at Rep Stage
By Jessica Goldstein
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Say you’re over the more classic Christmas experience. Maybe you’re thinking, “I wish instead of Santa sliding down my chimney, a hooker would show up, uninvited, on my doorstep.”

If so, you’re in luck: Rep Stage is presenting “Holidays on Ice,” readings from David Sedaris’s essay collection of the same name. And that is exactly the sort of dark holiday humor you can expect.

“Those who are familiar with Sedaris may certainly see this coming,” said Producing Artistic Director Michael Stebbins, who is performing the reading. “There are those people who, their mouths hang open: ‘Did he just say . . . ?’ ”

In 2006 and 2007, Rep Stage produced “The Santaland Diaries,” a play based on Sedaris’s essay about his stint as an elf at Macy’s during the Christmas season. When Bruce Nelson, the actor who played Sedaris, was ready to hang up his Santa hat, the Rep Stage team decided to fill the holiday time slot with a more low-key Sedaris project.

Given that “Holidays on Ice” doesn’t require full costumes, lighting, sets or casting, Stebbins estimates that the reading saves Rep Stage at least $50,000 in production costs. And because the space is small -- capacity is 125 -- and the presentation simple, “There is a real intimacy to the hour and a half that we spend together,” said Stebbins.

Stebbins cited one of his favorite essays as “Seasons Greetings to our Friends and Family.” “I think anyone can relate to the subject. It’s one of those holiday letters that you’re bound to get from somebody.”

Then, perhaps assuming that his family does not read this newspaper, he added, “My sister still sends one each year, and I have to thank her as if I really appreciate it. ‘In April, I bought a boat. In May, I got my hair done. The girls went to a parade.’ ”

According to Stebbins, the Sedaris material appeals to both college-age and senior audience members “because they’ve heard him on NPR [and] they know what they’re getting themselves into.”

As for those who don’t know Sedaris’s work? “Parental discretion is advised.”

8 p.m. Dec. 20-22 and 2 p.m. Dec. 23, Monteabaro Recital Hall at the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center, Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, Md., www.repstage.org, 443-518-1500