Santa is an evil genius destabilizing the global economy by flooding the market with cheap toys. Frosty is a snowperson with gender identity issues. Ebenezer Scrooge drops his greedy shtick to lead an unexpected charge against holiday consumerism.
Written by the comedy team of Kevin Gillese (artistic director for Dad’s Garage Theatre) and Arlen Konopaki (a New York–based playwright who grew up with Gillese in Canada), Merry %#!*ing Christmas attempts to cram every Christmas tale known to man into one cartoonish melee. Gillese, who also directs, says the idea is to “take all the Christmas traditions we know and love and then try to make them as . . . messed up as possible.”
The pair certainly don’t hold back. The play includes riffs on global warming (poor Frosty!), religious extremism, and a certain Atlanta-based soft drink conglomerate. With last season’s It’s a Wonderful Laugh, Gillese’s spoof of the 1946 James Stewart film, he says he made the mistake of trying to play it safe, so as not to offend Woodruff Arts Center’s more buttoned-up audience members. “This time, I’m not trying to please everyone,” he says of his subversive brand of humor. “I am here to be the edgy, fun voice.” Cover your ears, Tiny Tim!
On the calendar: It’s adults only at the world premiere of this naughty holiday show at the Alliance, from November 27-December 19.
This article originally appeared in our November 2015 issue under the headline “Rated Xmas.”