RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER takes place on a cramped yet colorful stage, decorated with the appropriate amount of Christmas kitsch, and begins with Santa Claus (Michael Hampton) deciding to run for President of the North Pole. His campaign is enormously unpopular and offensive, he wins on a technicality, and he’s an obvious parody of a certain Hairy Tangerine in the White House, complete with his own reindeer version of Kellyanne Conway. I understand, of course, that this twenty-year-old show pokes fun at whatever political era it’s being performed in. The problem, however, is that comedy involving our president’s childish, horrifying, and legitimately dangerous antics feels incredibly empty nowadays. This is partly because this administration parodies itself, and partly because every time somebody mentions our president’s name in this country, he gets a massive erection.
There’s a conversation in many theatrical circles at the moment about what type of work should be produced: serious activism to change the world or lighthearted humor to help audiences forget their troubles.