Christmas Claws

or What Would Christmas Be Without Krampus?

The most recent in a long-line of creative collaborations with Alderney Landing – including a number of plays for young audiences: The Pirate Show; Happy Birthday, Princess Plum!; The Hungry Ghost; as well as a triad of original Dinner Theatre shows –, DaPoPo Theatre was commissioned in 2019 to populate the Christkindl-Market with interactive characters drawn with traditional German Christmas market lore: Sankt Nikolaus, Ruprecht, the Organ-Grinder, and of course the Christkindl.

We the help of costume consultant Noella Murphy, we unleashed the holiday brood.

But our favourite character to let loose upon the unsuspecting visitors to the Market, by far, was Krampus. Krampus, a hellish, terrifying creature – furry, horned, of cloven hoof – threatens to carry bad children off in a basket and drown them. You don't think Krampus is a likely subject for a Christmas play for young audiences? Well, think again!

Actors Dorian Lang and Madeleine Tench terrify children as Krampus at Alderney Landing.

In the Fall of 2020, DaPoPo began workshop on the script. Due to a recent COVID outbreak at the North Pole, Santa must comply with the travel ban. Sankt Nikolaus, a near Santa look-alike, seems to be a shoo-in for the job, but his old friend Krampus is just too… terrifying! Will Knecht Ruprecht and Christkindl stand up to the devilish corporate marketing giant Lou C. Fur, or will they choose money over morals?

With readers Madeleine Tench, Raeesa Lalani, James Thornton, Kristi Anderson, Garry Williams, and dramaturg Karen Bassett (thank you, PARC!), we gathered at 1313 Hollis to read a first draft. That evening, the Christkindl-Market, like so many other social cultural events, were cancelled.

Now, with the help of the Department Communities, Culture, and Heritage, DaPoPo is able to return to this script for further development in the hope that crowds will be able to safely gather, and actors may tread the boards once more in time for Christmas 2021.