The Jew Who Loves Christmas

For those of us looking for a holiday show that’s a little unorthodox, Horse Head Theatre Company gives us Abby Koenig’s one-woman comedy The Jew Who Loves Christmas. Originally performed in December 2013, Koenig’s one-night-only, 30-minute show is a look at her Jewish family’s tradition of celebrating Christmas every year. “My whole family is crazy,” says Koenig, “but once a year for the holidays, we come together and are normal.”

Koenig’s show isn’t the usual send-up of ethnic characters that the title may suggest. Underlying the comedy, the piece reflects a darker reality that Koenig felt compelled to address onstage. “Big events happen to my family around the holidays that have impact on all of us,” says Koenig. “Most notably, five years ago my sister passed away suddenly at Christmastime and I wanted to write about it, but I didn’t know how to tie it all together until this show.”

The result is a darkly comedic multimedia performance that alternates between hilarious and unfunny. Koenig uses her own family tragedy to discuss issues that anyone, Jewish or not, can understand. “The Jew Who Loves Christmas uses comedy to deal with deeper issues around how the holidays have this sugar coated sadness to them,” says Koenig. “I hope that anyone who feels the holidays are a magical but difficult time will relate to my show and know that they aren’t the only ones who feel that way.”

See Horse Head Theatre Company’s Holiday Huzzah The Jew Who Loves Christmas at 8 p.m. Obsidian Art Space, 3522 White Oak Drive. For information, visit horseheadtheatre.org. $25 to $40.
Sat., Dec. 13, 8 p.m., 2014

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Jessica Goldman was the theater critic for CBC Radio in Calgary prior to joining the Houston Press team. Her work has also appeared in American Theatre Magazine, Globe and Mail and Alberta Views. Jessica is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.
Contact: Jessica Goldman