The Santaland Diaries

Ah, the seasonal job. Plenty of us have rung up orders, chucked boxes, or scanned, scanned, scanned the days away during the holiday season. David Sedaris, however, had the king job of all—working as an elf at Macy's. Not only did it give him enough cash to stay alive in New York City for a time, it also offered the writer great fodder, which he turned into his popular Santaland Diaries. The Twin Cities doesn't get Sedaris this holiday season, but we do have a one-man stage version of the show from the fine folks at Frank Theatre. It's a largely delightful evening, led by a terrific performance from Joe Leary, who plays Sedaris and his Macy's alter ego, Crumpet the Elf. The show takes us through Crumpet's journey, from the arduous application process to a full week of "elf" training to, finally, the endless weeks of toil in the forced fun of Santa's wonderland. It would be pretty easy to be utterly cynical about the entire journey, but Sedaris (and Joe Mantello, who wrote the stage adaptation) provides a real mix of emotions—from wry humor to utter disgust to moments of actual wonderment—through the 70-minute piece. Leary, veteran of many stages in the Twin Cities and New York, expertly takes us on the journey, playing the character completely wide open—there's never a doubt of the emotions that Crumpet is feeling. Steve Rohde's set design is simple, but provides a great vision of Santa's jolly land on the small Hennepin Stages platform. Director Wendy Knox takes a break from Kafka and the Liberian civil war for a gentler piece that still has the distinct feel that Frank has built through the years. $15-$25. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Hennepin Stages, 824 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. Through Dec. 31