The North Pole is a very different world in Jeff Goode's imagination. Mrs. Claus is an alcoholic, Cupid is an openly gay reindeer, and Santa Claus is accused of raping Vixen.
His Christmas play, "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues," is being performed in theatres across the country - from New York and Philadelphia to Atlanta and San Diego. Most reviewers call it good-natured holiday fun - but some critics don't see the humor in a show that portrays Santa Claus as an alleged pedophile with a penchant for bestiality.
Here's the plot: a sex scandal rocks the North Pole. Santa is arrested and charged with sexual harassment. The show has been described as the darker side of Christmas - and definitely not for boys and girls.
"There is a subculture of Americans who are driven by hate," said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. Donohue has not seen the production but said he's noticed a trend in holiday productions that seem to re-invent or deconstruct the traditions of the season.
"We've tracked it since the early 90s and it seems to become a little more popular, which is not a very good sign for our culture," he said.
Goode's play has been around for years - and typically has drawn high praise from reviewers. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch called the upcoming producing in their city a "smart comedy." A "must-see" production is how the South Florida Blade described the show.
Tony Moore is an actor in the version being staged in Wilmington, NC. He told The Star News the play has "a good moral message encased in a ball of comedy."
Donohue wonders why Christians seems to be the only religious group attacked by the entertainment industry. "It's only Catholics, only Christians, that tend to be the target of these people's venoms," he said. "We know there's more than irreverent humor involved. We know that it's mean-spirited and rank hypocrisy."
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