By Jeffrey Limoncelli
Photos by Rich Clark
I had the opportunity to direct Santa's Secret as part of Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018. The playwright, Jeffrey Limoncelli, is a contemporary of mine in the UCLA MFA Playwriting program.
The play is about Marty, a disillusioned mall santa who must confront his own existence and irrelevance when no kids come to see him on Christmas Eve. He projects his yearning for companionship on a Victoria's Secret mannequin and ends up falling in love with her.
Despite the madcap premise, the story has a deep sentimental vein, and my goal as director was to keep the comedy honest and grounded, even as the single actor juggled the two sides of Marty's psyche. By not getting too psychoanalytical, and allowing our actor to give Marty and Vicky the mannequin equal agency, we allowed Marty's illusion to manifest more clearly, and the audience was able to connect with him and feel his sense of listlessness even as he dances with an armless hunk of plastic.
“Black Mirror” meets “Mannequin” with a sprinkle of Santa Clause… It was amazing!
--Fringe Reviewer Matthew Domenico
All design elements by Ryan Stevens and Jeffrey Limoncelli.