Remember the days of the “choose your own ending” storybooks? They used to be pretty popular when kids were learning to read chapter books. Kids could choose different endings and story lines, dependent on which chapter they chose to read. The direction the story took was all up to the reader, and this kind of control over a book’s destiny became very appealing. Now, this “choose your own ending” experience has shifted from books to plays. The Bluebarn Theatre in Omaha is performing a play these next couple of weeks that follows this idea. A panel of three audience members is able to pick one out of three different ending scenarios, making them the directors of the show. Because of this, a different play could potentially be performed every couple of nights.
The Bluebarn Theater, as described on their website, “exists to enhance the cultural life of Omaha, Nebraska by producing professionally executed, boundary breaking plays that ignite a passion for the art form.” Putting on a show that effectively goes against every other Christmas themed show certainly follows these guidelines. Instead of the typical feel good, upbeat Christmas show where there is a lesson to be learned and where there are examples to be followed, the point of “Who Killed Santa?” is to find out just that: who killed Santa Claus?
A little risqué for the younger audience, “Who Killed Santa” tells the story of common Christmas characters who are attending a party hosted by Santa Claus, while Mrs. Claus is out on a Buddhist retreat. In this version of a slightly radical Christmas story, both Tiny Tim and Santa have an “eye for the ladies,” while a new character to the Christmas scene, Chastity, is apparently anything but chaste. After Santa gets stabbed in the back and drops dead, literally and metaphorically, by a giant candy cane, the cast of characters must figure out who did it.
Clearly, this brave decision to pick an abnormal Christmas show is paying off. 13 out of the 15 performances are already sold out. Those that want to attend should make reservations as soon as possible for either Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m., or Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Because of the more adult content of the show, younger children are probably not the best audience to attend. Teenagers and adults will enjoy it, and not be alarmed by some of the more mature content. “Who Killed Santa?” is sure to be an alternatively hilarious and unusual show, and if nothing else, it will be a new and different kind of show that most people have never experienced before.