The Reason for the Season & The Night Before Christmas
November 26, 2013 - December 29, 2013
By Matt Pelfrey & Anthony Nielson
Directed By Rusty Tennant & Louanne Moldovan

Spend an outrageous Christmas Eve with a churlish Santa, a kidnapped elf and a handful of hapless souls in need of some holiday spirit. Amid the shrapnel of yuletide yearning, broken dreams and poignant revelations, can the magic of the season spark hope in their hearts? With these two riotous, irreverent short plays that even Ebenezer Scrooge could appreciate, be prepared for a pair of good old-fashioned, foul-mouthed, feel-good holiday anti-classics … and just a wee dusting of that cherished Christmas feeling.
Two award-winning playwrights • A holiday debauchery double-bill for mature audiences


The Reason for the Season

Foss Curtis
Chris Murray*
Steve Coker

The Night Before Christmas

Chris Murray*
Luisa Sermol*
Jill Westerby+ 
Steve Coker


The Reason for the Season  

Scenic Designer  Megan Wilkerson
Costume Designer Jessica Bobillot
Lighting Designer  Ruth Nardecchia
Sound Designer   Rodolfo Ortega^
Props Designer Natalie Heikkinen
Fight Director Rusty Tennant
Stage Manager Michelle Jazuk* 
Production Assistant  Will Bailey







The Night Before Christmas  

Scenic Designer  Megan Wilkerson
Costume Designer Jessica Bobillot
Lighting Designer  Jennifer Lin
Sound Designer   Rodolfo Ortega^
Props Designer Natalie Heikkinen
Dialect Coach Mary McDonald-Lewis 
Stage Manager Michelle Jazuk* 
Production Assistant Will Bailey








  *Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
** Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
^ Artists Rep Resident Artist


Mature themes – not recommended for children under 14.

FOOD DRIVE! Want a way off the Naughty List? Bring a non-perishable food item for our Food Drive! Want a sweet deal too? Bring 5 items and get $35 tickets. All food will go to the Oregon Food Bank. 



TRAILER! Check out the video trailer for XMAS UNPLUGGED here then share it with your friends!

PHOTOS! Click here to see photos from the production by Owen Carey.

Bios, headshots, Q&As and so much more! Click here to check out the production's playbill.

Join the cast and crew for post-show discussion after the 2pm matinees on December 1, 8, 11, 15, 22. 

Happy Hours, Surprise nights and discussions oh my! Click here for a full schedule of activities sure to make your theatre experience even more rewarding. 

Click here to read a detailed synopsis of the XMAS UNPLUGGED shows. SPOILER ALERT!

Artists Rep presents the world premiere production of The Reason for the Season.

The Night Before Christmas premiered at London's The Red Room Theatre Company in 1995. It made its U.S. premiere in Los Angeles with Furious Theatre Company in 2008. Theatre Alliance in Washington DC produced a successful reading as part of its 2011/12 Hothouse on H Street Reading Series before presenting a full production at H Street Playhouse in 2012. 


Playwright, The Reason for the Season
Matt is the resident playwright at Furious Theatre. His plays include An Impending Rupture of the Belly, Cockroach Nation, Terminus Americana, Honkies with Attitude, Gore Hounds, Drive Angry, FrEAk StORm, Jerry Springer is God, Monkey and A Feast of Famine. They have been produced in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and South Africa by such companies as the Actors Theater of Louisville (Humana Festival ’99); Furious Theatre Company, Roadworks, American Theater of Actors, (Mostly) Harmless Theater Company, Moving Arts, Hexagon Theatre and the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble. He is the recipient of the Heideman Award (National Ten-Minute Play Award) for his play Drive Angry. Drive Angry was subsequently produced in the prestigious Humana Festival of New American Plays. Mr. Pelfrey recently won a Back Stage Garland Award for playwriting. He has been nominated for an American Critic’s New Play Award, LA Weekly Playwriting Award and a Los Angeles Ovation Award. In 2001 Mr. Pelfrey was a finalist for the Julliard Playwrights Program. Jerry Springer is God and Drive Angry are published by Samuel French and Smith & Kraus. Cockroach Nation, Terminus Americana and Gore Hounds are published by Original Works Publishing. An Impending Rupture of the Belly and FrEAk StORm are published by Broadway Play Publishing. Matt received his BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State and his MFA from UCLA where he is currently teaching undergraduate playwriting. 


Playwright, The Night Before Christmas
As Writer/Director – theatre credits include: Narrative (Royal Court); Get Santa! (Royal Court); Relocated (Royal Court); Realism (Edinburgh International Festival/Lyceum); The Wonderful World of Dissocia (Tron/Edinburgh Lyceum/Theatre Royal Plymouth/Royal Court/national tour); The Seance (National Theatre Connections); The Menu (National Theatre); The Lying Kind (Royal Court); Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness (Theatre Royal, Plymouth and Headlong Theatre Company national tour); Stitching – nominated Evening Standard Most Promising Newcomer (Traverse/Bush); The Censor – Writers’ Guild Award for Best Fringe Play (Finborough/Royal Court); The Night Before Christmas (Finborough); Penetrator (Edinburgh Festival/Finborough/Royal Court); Normal: The Dusseldorf Ripper (Edinburgh Festival/Finborough); The Year of Family (Finborough); Welfare My Lovely (Traverse).  Anthony has also directed other people’s work in the theatre and written and directed for film and TV.  His next production will be a musical adaptation of The Night Before Christmas at Soho Theatre, December 2013.



Rusty Tennant is Artistic Director of Fuse Theatre Ensemble and the Resident Props Designer for Artists Rep. Rusty also has an MFA in Directing and Performance from the University of New Orleans. Rusty’s perspective on directing has been shaped by fusing nearly three decades of professional work as an actor, dancer, combatant, choreographer, designer, writer and educator. He is a craftsman of the theatre who strives to achieve art. Selected regional credits include Ten Chimneys (Artists Rep, Asst. Director/ Props Designer); A Streetcar Named Desire (Artists Rep, Asst. Director/ understudy/ Fight Choreographer); Carousel (Connecticut Repertory Theatre); House of Plunder (Southern Repertory Theatre); Mother Courage (Nevada Conservatory Theatre). Recent Portland productions include Henry IV 1 (Post5 Theatre, Falstaff); A Midsummer Night's Somnambulism (Fuse Theatre, OPSFest, Bottom); Sonnetscape (Fuse Theatre, Portland Outdoor Shakespeare Festival, Director/ Performer); (...) (Fuse Theatre, Director); Karaoke Night (the musical), #smarter_than_phones and MySp_ace (Fuse Theatre, Performer/Writer/Director); Lear's Follies, King Lear (Portland Shakespeare Project, Set Design); Machinal (Pacific University, Director), Failure to Communicate, Romeo & Juliet and Plumfield, Iraq (Lewis & Clark College, Fight/Movement Choreographer). He has designed props for Artists Rep for the past three seasons, recent productions include Foxfinder, Mistakes Were Made, The Big Meal, The Gin Game, Red Herring, The Lost Boy, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol, Seven Guitars, And So It Goes … and the 2010 production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore for which he won a Drammy Award for Props Design. For current film and television credits search

Louanne Moldovan has worked for many years as an actress, writer, casting director and talent coach. She spent nearly two decades in Los Angeles, where, among other things, she led theatre workshops with psychiatric patients for The Imagination Workshop, worked at 20th Century Fox, and was a member of the prestigious Women’s Writing Project at the Los Angeles Theater Center.  In Portland, Louanne has been Artistic Director of Cygnet Productions, an acclaimed ‘literary cabaret’ theatre company. She won the Oregon Book Award as co-author of a play about the Algonquin Round Table writers. For Artists Rep, she was the Assistant Director for And So It Goes... and The Lost Boy  

Dates: November 26 - December 29
Performances: Wednesdays - Sundays @ 7:30pm & Sundays @ 2pm
Opening Night is Saturday, November 30. 




 The Oregonian

The Reviews...

Dylan Meconis for Portland Mercury writes, "Ask yourself: Could your niece tolerate a scenario in which Santa Claus both deserves and receives a punch to the crotch? Is your mom the type to take wicked delight in watching a hooker smash a cigarette into an elf's mouth? Is your date the kind of person who skips Midnight Mass for the strip club but still reverently cues up the Charlie Brown Christmas album? If the answer is "yes," great news: You can give A Christmas Carol the year off." Read the rest of the rave review here.

Here is what some of our audiences are saying so far:
“Insanely fun!”
“Really hilarious!”
“I have expended a lot of energy in my life hating Christmas and now with these two shows doing it for me, I think I can relax and enjoy it!”
“Totally crazy – I loved it!”
“I really felt like I was part of a theatre tonight! The action was right in front of me.”

Leela Ginelle of PQMonthly reviews the two shows saying: "... Fun for adults, full of great actors and brilliant moments, and featuring characters from your childhood being treated in ways you’ve never imagined, it’s a smart diversion for a winter night." Read on here .

Reviews of past productions:


“a wicked little comedy to warm the cockles of your heart.”  -The Guardian

"A NOTABLY SMART ADULT-ORIENTED STANDOUT! In just under an hour, British playwright Anthony Neilson’s 1995 one-act comedy strikes an engaging balance of edginess, social commentary and hard-won optimism, without lapsing into sappy cliche...yuletide formulas are wittily upended!" - Los Angeles Times

"Rib-tickling... a breath of fresh air in the annual avalanche of saccharine seasonal fare..." - Back Stage West


Tickets for Artists Rep's 2014/15 season are on sale now! Click on the link below to purchase or call our Box Office at 503.241.1278.