The Rockettes need not fear holiday competition from the Brick Theater’s Baby Jesus One-Act Jubilee: Second Coming.
Having seen the “Marys” slate of pieces in this rotating rep (the other being the “Josephs”), I can attest that, as Christmas fare, it definitely appeals more to the naughty than to the nice.
Take Qui Nguyen’s Action Jesus, technically not a Nativity piece, but a Passion (or, rather, post-Passion) play, where Jesus returns—and this time it’s personal! This hilariously goofy Gospel According to Tarantino climaxes with a blasphemous martial-arts fight sequence familiar to fans of Nguyen’s Vampire Cowboys company. Standout performer Jason Liebman (a very def Savior) also acts in the equally funny Marshmallow World, by novelist Marc Spitz. In a self-help group of “sonic obsessives” (who fess up to such embarrassing addictions as Terry Gross and Seal), he plays a self-hating Jewish convert to the complete catalog of cheesy Christmas songs. Things take a more serious turn with Jason Grote’s A Christmas Carol, a spare monologue in which old Ebenezer laments both his own fate and the sorrows of capitalism—Dickens by way of Marx and Krapp’s Last Tape. The grim finale, Eric Sanders’s
Hollow Hallow, dares to remind us of Iraq, imagining Christmas at Abu Ghraib. All the scripts (especially the last) at times seem like rough drafts, but the committed acting and original ideas (with some help from the spiked cider) make for more compelling viewing than the usual theatrical Yule log.