‘A Krumpus Story’ puts silliness on Denver stage

Buntport production is based on tales from Bavaria, Austria

Posted 11/30/16

Four theater professionals got together, as a writing collective, and wrote a play about quantum theory, which was not successful, said member Leigh Miller of Centennial. Then one of the group moved to New York and the other three continued to …

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‘A Krumpus Story’ puts silliness on Denver stage

Buntport production is based on tales from Bavaria, Austria

Posted

Four theater professionals got together, as a writing collective, and wrote a play about quantum theory, which was not successful, said member Leigh Miller of Centennial. Then one of the group moved to New York and the other three continued to meet.

Leigh Miller, Andy Waldschmidt and Sam Provenzano called themselves “The Boys Hair Club,” although Sam is a girl, with short hair (“we all have some hair”) and they have worked every Monday for 16 months on “A Krumpus Story,” which will play Dec. 1 to 18 at Buntport Theater in Denver. A successful Kickstarter campaign, supported by “65 people who contributed to a project they’d never seen,” allowed the collaborative to proceed.

“This will be one more distinctly Denver product — Denver’s newest holiday tradition — the only Krumpus story,” Miller says. “We had seen the holiday fare — and found an opportunity for an updated story that honored the spirit of Christmas, rather than stories.” It will be a farce, completed to some extent by Monday-night phone conversations, since Sam is currently a second-year graduate student in Austin, Texas.

“It asks nothing of your intellect and might actually make you smile — and be present,” he said. “It offers another alternative, a few warm moments, a laugh.”

Krumpus/Krampus is an anthropomorphic figure with goat’s horns who appears in holiday legends in Germany’s state of Bavaria and Austria and is related to the character who delivers coal to naughty children in the Netherlands. Miller said his wife is German, so he was aware of the tradition and aware of parades held by Krumpus-like characters. The figure is becoming more popular in the U.S. as well, according to online information available. (And creepy illustrations!)

Krumpus, who carries a bundle of willow switches, arrives with St. Nicholas in advance of Christmas, to check on children’s behavior. He may leave a switch as a warning, if there’s some question, Miller said. On Dec. 6, children put shoes outside the door at night and in the morning, they find treats — or switches.

“An enforcement of justice on those who have been naughty!” Miller said, adding that his 4- and 7-year-old sons put their shoes out on the appropriate evening.

“If you’re bad, you get coal. If worse, you are flogged with a willow branch, if still worse, dragged to eternity,” he said with a chuckle.

“`A Krumpus Story’ is a silly farce, where Santa is the naughty one!”

Miller is directing and producing the play — and “being the front office,” he said. His cast includes Michael Morgan, Iona Leighton, Austin Carroll, Jim Hitzke and Rachel White. They are rehearsing in Denver at an old Denver Center Theatre property. The local literary and theater community here has been very generous with time and space, helping with editing and other details, Miller said. He has performed for 15 years and was able to call on friends. He is a stay-at-home father at present.

Miller said he grew up in the Berkeley, California area and received his MFA in acting from the National Repertory, which was attached to the Denver Center Theatre for a number of years before it was discontinued. Waldschmidt, an actor/writer, is from New York (and is currently fathering a new baby daughter at home); Provenzano is from Greeley, has performed in this area and is in graduate school in Texas.

The trio is excited to launch its new production and hopes theater lovers will enjoy “A Krumpus Story.

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