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There are just some things that get people into the holiday spirit: baking gingerbread men, singing Christmas songs, watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. But for a certain sect of public-radio listeners, it never really feels like December until they hear David Sedaris read from “The Santaland Diaries.” It’s the story that made Sedaris famous 20 years ago, about the weeks he spent working as an elf named Crumpet in Macy’s Santaland. The original recording, in typical Sedaris style, makes listeners giggle and cringe in equal turn, but anyone forced to visit Santa at the mall can relate to his depictions of screaming toddlers and freakishly costumed adults. Those who miss the visual elements of the story that radio lacks are in luck—director Joe Mantello adapted the story into a one-act play in 1996 and it’s been a hit with seasonal theater crowds ever since. Actor Joe Brack brings his version to Fort Fringe starting tonight, and plans to liberally dole out holiday cheer to audiences throughout December. Because laughing about holiday absurdities is a better alternative to hitting the mall.
The show runs to Dec. 23 at RedRum at Fort Fringe, 612 L St. NW. $20. cityartisticpartnerships.org.