Liminal is a theatre group like no other. This year they want to save Christmas. From itself. And what a present they’re bestowing.

Jeff Marchant, Leo Daedalus and Carla Grant photo by Sumi Wu
Jeff Marchant, Leo Daedalus and Carla Grant photo by Sumi Wu

Making good and exceptional use of e.e.cummings’ texts Santa Claus (1946), The Christmas Tree (1920), and others, Liminal tackles the real big issues: life, death, sex… and online shopping (which probably would’ve even baffled ol’ e.e. himself) in their new production called simply Santa.

Joe Everyman plays the Man in Red. Death is the archetypal one-percenter robber baron. In Liminal’s alternate universe, Death and Santa are twins separated at birth and Santa’s home life turns out to be far more complicated than we ever thought. Metaphysical hijinks galore ensue as Death tricks Santa into endorsing products that don’t quite exist. Will Santa ever discover his true secret identity? Is it still poetry if it doesn’t rhyme? (Do you really need to watch A Christmas Carol for the umpteenth time? )

Santa is presented December 4 – 21,  Thurs – Sun with a 7:30 pm curtain at Backdoor Theater, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd. with a Sunday matinee at 3 pm (not on December 13). Tickets are $15-25 sliding scale. Make reservations at 503.567.8309 or liminalgroup.org. The show is recommended for ages 13 and up.

The production features Jeff Marchant as SANTA, Leo Daedalus as DEATH, alto Carla Grant in a singing role as WOMAN, Alex Reagan as the CROWD, and Delilah Scanlon (age 9 1/2) debuts as CHILD. Liminal artistic co-director John Berendzen directs and composed the music.

Liminal is known for its uniquely staged plays (2013’s much acclaimed version of Wilder’s Our Town), and its large-scale live walk-through performances like 2012’s multidimensional and extrapolational Gertrude Stein. They’ve been awarded a winter residency at Backdoor Theatre, the home of defunkt theatre.

As e.e. once wrote: “listen: there’s a hell

of a good universe next door; let’s go”