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In Conversation With: Santa

Lately, Santa has become somewhat of a sad sack, maybe it’s because he’s not quite a visitor, not quite a resident of St. Catharines. Lately, Santa has been trying his luck with comedy here in the region, and while he had his guard dropped, his website was hacked. We try to get to the bottom of it.

So Santa what brought you to St. Catharines? I thought you had a good thing going on up in the North Pole?

Theatre has always been my passion and, you know how it is, I just got tired of the hustle and bustle and I heard these guys were doing some good stuff down here, and this is a city on the grow, so I came down and here we are – I’m in this fine show with the Suitcase in Point Theatre Company.

What ultimately brought you here? By sleigh? Train? Plane?

Yup, by reindeer. That’s the only way I travel – sleigh driven reindeer. If you’ve got a better idea I’d love to hear it?

Where do you park the reindeer? Parking is tight here in downtown St. Catharines.

I park them on James St. It’s difficult. I have twelve reindeer, so each reindeer is a spot. Parking is free on the weekend though – it’s not like that in Toronto.

Do you consider yourself a weekend warrior, free parking, let’s party?

Well, you have to remember I’m 475 years old. I’ve been around for a thing or two. I’m tired, I just want to do my thing. Be in bed by 11 olcock.

This isn’t the first time you’ve come down for the Suitcase in Point Holiday cabaret.

I came down here to pursue a career in standup comedy, I heard you have a great scene here. It’s a tough racket though. All things considered, I decided it wasn’t the thing for me, then someone told me I should try my hand at scripted comedy. I said ‘that’s interesting’ and here I am. I’m playing several roles, including myself, which is fun.

It must be hard to put yourself into a character that you’ve lived for 475 years and try and be funny about it, no? You know, we have this image of you eating milk and cookies, running the shop, delivering presents. There’s nothing funny about that.

Yeah, I get it. I’m just being me. You put everything under the microscope. How do I move my hands? I don’t know? I just move my hands. How do I walk? I don’t know, I just do it. It’s a tricky thing playing yourself, I guess that’s why Antwone Fisher only wrote the screenplay for Antwone Fisher. Have you seen that movie? It’s a great film, directed by Denzel Washington – big fan.

No. I haven’t, it’s an older film, right? I’m not too sure… I don’t have cable so I have a hard time keeping up with all the trailers.

Well, I have to keep up with them, you know, because we build the DVDs. I have to be up on everything pop culture related.

Do you find the trends are shifting?

Streaming. More streaming. What do you do? Noone asks for DVDs anymore. Noone wants the first season of Pretty Little Liars anymore. So I just get them something I think that they’d want.

What has that done for production up at the North Pole? Are you working with Amazon now?

We’ve had layoffs. Outsourced a little bit. Well, they’re working with me. I was here first. They have drones, I have a sleigh pulled by 12 magical reindeers, know what I mean? Drones are cool, I deliver them, but c’mon, reindeer. That being said, drones don’t crap all over Iceland, but whatever. Onwards and upwards. We’re working it out. It’s still a new partnership, we’re working out the kinks.

Well, I don’t want to say you’ve bottomed out by any means… You know… You’re living in downtown St. Catharines. Do you want to make this your home? Are you just checking in for the season? Bottomed out?

That’s very presumtious of you Chris. I’m just getting started. I have places all over the region. I have a house I rent here that I rent out when I’m not around. I may spend my off time here, the North Pole gets cold – it’s relentless.

Even with Global warming?

Global warming? That’s not a thing. Don’t print that. Do not print that I said that. We’re off the record here, right?

While we’re definitely NOT off the record, let’s be serious for a second. Your website recently got hacked, everything ok?

Well, we’re looking into it. There were demands. An anarchist group is trying to expose us and in the end we’ll figure it out. I’ve been on the phone with IT, I’ve got my best elves working on it. Here’s hoping, fingers crossed.

Did you click on one of those stupid Facebook videos that someone sent you?

No, we were targeted Christopher.

How many hits a day does your website get? How many hits?

How many children want presents on Christmas? How many people want wishes fulfilled?

Do you watch the analytics on that?

I have a whole team to do that. I have a Macbook Air. We have a second party calendar app that we use. We have a Weebly page that Sparklepants, my head elf set up. She maintains it. We just got our first iPad for the workshop so we can track everything. It’s all in the cloud. So that scares me. Aren’t you scared of the cloud? Clouds turn grey and then it rains and you have snowstorms. I don’t know. That’s where all the information goes. I’m afraid of clouds.

[Elf in background] I’m afraid of clowns Santa.

Go back to lunch Rosie, enough from you.

Special thanks to Brian Foster. Be sure to check out Suitcase in Point’s Holiday Cabaret at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Dec. 7-9. Tickets are available at firstontariopac.com

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