The SantaLand Diaries returns to American Stage as the latest production in its "After Hours'' series of late-night performances. Brian Shea stars as Crumpet in the one-man show about an actor who dreams of being in a soap opera but winds up as a Christmas elf at Macy's.
SantaLand is the stage adaptation of David Sedaris' first big hit, a short story by the author of Me Talk Pretty One Day, When You Are Engulfed in Flames and other comic bestsellers. It has become an alternative to the seasonal saturation of saccharine Nutcrackers and Christmas Carols, a mordant take on the less romantic reality of the holidays. For anyone who has ever held a demeaning job, especially during the holiday shopping season, it rings hilariously, pathetically true. ("You are not a dancer. If you were a real dancer, you wouldn't be here. You're an elf and you're going to wear panties like an elf.")
SantaLand runs through Dec. 28 at the theater, 211 Third St. S, St. Petersburg. Performances are at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday. Pay what you can. (727) 823-7529; americanstage.org.