What if the next Santa were a Jew? And not just any Jew—a prepubescent Jewish boy.
Though seemingly absurd, this notion becomes reality in this year’s production of “XMAS!”‑ Columbia’s very own secular Christmas spectacular.
The first “XMAS!” was conceived as a parody of Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular four years ago. It has since supplied much-needed stress relief on the first night of reading week. Despite its timing, past productions have had no problem drawing thousands of Columbia students out of their study-for-final bubbles for 90 minutes of blasphemous hilarity. To continue the ritual, an equally sacrilegious mash-up of twisted “XMAS!” traditions will make their way to Roone Arledge on Sunday, Dec. 13.
“XMAS! 4: Shalom Alone” centers around a Jewish boy named Ollie, who discovers during his bar mitzvah that he is Santa Claus’ grandson. After some ridiculous complications, Ollie and his pagan girlfriend find themselves on a crazy journey to North Pole City, which “XMAS! 4” writer John Goodwin, CC ’12, mockingly dubs “a holiday-cheer-filled version of our own hometown.”
In North Pole City, Ollie and his girlfriend meet all kinds of familiar Christmas characters, each with an unfamiliar twist. This includes a bad-ass reindeer mistakenly labelled gay and a Virgin Mary desperate for sex (who, by the way, is also on birth control “just in case”).
“The great thing about “XMAS!” is that it takes a special time of year and really skewers some of its funny elements,” said Becca Lewis, CC ’11, one of the producers of the show. Though irreverent,
“XMAS! 4” strangely reflects hidden truths about our preconceived notion of Christmas.
In addition to reimagining traditional stories, “XMAS! 4” aims to imbue the show with its own brand of energy. During one of the rehearsals, director Ameneh Bordi, CC ’10 revived the cast by forcing them to exercise as they said their lines. “Jumping jacks, now!” yelled Bordi. And as if dozens of those weren’t enough, she continued shouting, “Now jog around the room!”
By putting on a show that emits such boundless energy, the creative team hopes the show’s electrifying movements, songs, and profanities will keep their audiences on the edge of their seats. Or just on edge. The show’s shock-inducing brand of comedy might be a problem for the deeply religious. But for the rest battling pre-finals depression, this show might actually be the perfect
replacement for Prozac.
“XMAS! 4” hopes to embody everything a Christmas musical should and should not be. From a giant robot dance number about Kwanzaa to multi-party sex with three French hens and a reindeer, it seems as though anything goes in the world of Ollie the Jewish Santa Claus.