Behind the Curtain with The Santaland Diaries cast!
December 15th, 2014
No matter if you have seen The Santaland Diaries at Horizon Theatre every year for the past 16-years or are a first timer, the production continues to change, remain hilarious, and yet still cause many to shed a tiny tear at the end. It is a bawdy comedy filled with silliness and fun, but at the heart of it, it is about getting through the holiday craziness while still finding those rare occasions that make it all human again. With that in mind, we thought we’d give you a little insight into the people that play your favorite holiday characters. Find out what their favorite moments are, the things that make them giggle, and why the ladies love The Walrus!
Behind the Curtain with Harold M. Leaver (Crumpet):
Q. You have been with The Santaland Diaries from the start. How has the way you play Crumpet changed over the years?
A. The truth is, I have grown less cynical as I have gotten older. And that, I believe, has helped me get a little closer to the “truth” of the play each year the Horizon produces it. Also, I have to shave more often.
Q. It seems like something magical happens when you put on all those sequins and bells. What is your favorite part of donning the elf gear?
A. “I am Iron Man”. Not really. That’s Tony Stark (for now). I can hear the gasps, the whistles, the whispers of “Oh no” and “Poor fellow” as the pieces go on. While it has a general aura of humiliation about it, it is transformative… the elf costume provides the character of David with a sort of permission slip to broaden his behavior…it truly makes him “Crumpet.”
Q. What has been your favorite line to say?
A. I can’t reveal my favorite (Elf Union rules). Also, that always makes the other lines jealous.
Q. Crumpet has a lot of audience interaction during the show. Has there been a favorite moment from those interactions?
A. Yes. Woody, the fireman from Rome, GA. That was a good moment.
Behind the Curtain with Lala Cochran (female sidekick):
Q. Out of all the characters that you play during The Santaland Diaries, which one is your favorite to portray?
A. My favorite character would be Sleighbell, the flamenco dancer—she’s so serious about everything it’s just funny to me how serious she takes herself and her passion for music and dance. HA! I also love Gingersnap who doesn’t know how inappropriate she’s being with that candy cane, And Flakey, who really wants to make it in the downtown art scene, but doesn’t really that her work is just plain silly.
Q. Your child star character is always a memorable one, which toddler ingénue has been the best to play?
A. I kind of miss Honey Boo-Boo—or Bunny Hoo-Hoo as we called her. She really worked that North Pole flag/stripper pole!
Q. Do you have a favorite moment that has stuck with you over the years that always causes you to chuckle?
A. The moments that I love in the show are when we interact with the audience and they get tickled and enjoy the attention we give them.
Behind the Curtain with Enoch King (male sidekick):
Q. Out of all of the characters that you play during The Santaland Diaries, which one is your favorite to portray and why?
A. Favorite character: Santa Jerome. Just a fun, crass character to play. Jerome is like an abrasive, rowdy uncle. From the way he walks, talks, (and scratches) he brings tidings of comfort and joy.
Q. What do you enjoy more, the heels and lady wigs or the hulk?
A. The hulk. He’s a sweet kid with asthma who really wants to BE the hulk. And the costume progression that we’ve had has been fun.
Q. How much of what you do on stage is improvised and how much is scripted?
A. I guess you could call it “scripted improvisation”. I don’t think that’s a real term, but, ah well. Most of my lines are not in the original script. But we’ve done them all these years and they still get a good reaction, so we’ve kept them in. It’s a collaborative effort. We see what works and what doesn’t and we make adjustments when needed. But we still keep true to the original script. The delivery and the energy we have onstage gives the impression it’s improv, but we’ve worked and rehearsed all the bits.
Q. After doing the show for almost ten years now, what is your favorite moment with audience interactions?
A. Good Lord. It’s been almost ten years? Wow. Well, my favorit…TEN YEARS you say?! Gracious. I was young and dumb back then…a boy becoming a man. In fact, I remember one time…wait, what was the question? Favorite audience interaction! Definitely The Walrus. I love to hear how they react to seeing him for the first time. And the ladies love The Walrus. Ohhh yeahhh.