Metro Weekly

Cameron Folmer puts a robustly funny spin on seasonal satire “Santaland Diaries”

80-minute play recounts encounters from David Sedaris’ time working as a Macy’s elf

Santaland Diaries — Photo: Donald Kemp

“Listen,” Lynn Sharp Spears told her friend Cameron Folmer, “these guys at this comedy club want to branch out and start doing small comedy theater pieces. And they want to start with Santaland Diaries. Would you be interested in doing it?”

As it turns out, David Sedaris, the show’s author, is one of Folmar’s favorite writers, so naturally he agreed.

“I didn’t know the Drafthouse,” Folmer admits, “and it was a little scary to think about doing it in a place commonly known for stand-up comedy because I’m not a comic.” As a result, Folmer, who has appeared on Broadway in The 39 Steps and locally with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and Studio Theatre, needed to acclimate to audiences who were a bit more boisterous audiences. At a recent late-evening show, for instance, “there were some fairly inebriated people, and that distracted me. The thing that I have to remember is, ‘They’re not leaving. They don’t hate you. They’re just getting up to get a drink.’”

Santaland Diaries — Photo: Donald Kemp

The 80-minute play recounts encounters from Sedaris’ time working as a Macy’s elf. “[The] jokes are constructed very, very well — they don’t need messing with,” says Folmar, who adds his own flourishes to what he calls an “inherently gay” show.

“As I was developing it, and particularly as we were staging it last week, it became very gay to me. I just thought, ‘Let it go there, then. Let’s just let all the girls out and let them have a good time.’”

The Santaland Diaries runs weekends through Sunday, Dec. 23, at Drafthouse Comedy Theater, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-750-6411 or visit drafthousecomedy.com.

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.