David Sedaris to perform at Calvin Theatre on Oct. 20
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 21:10
“If you’re looking for sympathy you’ll find it between s--t and syphilis in the dictionary.” This is a quotation from one of David Sedaris’ bestselling books, Barrel Fever. The famous author will perform in Northampton Saturday, Oct. 20th at the Calvin Theatre. A frequent guest of the NPR radio show “This American Life,” Sedaris gained national recognition when NPR broadcast his personal essay “SantaLand Diaries.” Since then he has published seven essay collections, many of which have made it on to The New York Times bestseller’s list, as well as a fictional collection of anthropomorphic stories called Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary.
Sedaris’ work is mainly autobiographical; his essays focus on all aspects of his life, but especially his upbringing in Raleigh, North Carolina, his life in Paris and his struggles with drug use. Most of his writing’s humor comes from his descriptions of the funny situations in which he finds himself. One critic for The Guardian wrote, “At times, Sedaris’s writing blurs into live comedy.” SantaLand Diaries focuses on Sedaris’ experiences working as an elf in Macy’s SantaLand during one Christmas season. His observations on out-of-work actors, grumpy drunk Santas and maniacal, overbearing parents who want the perfect Christmas memory open up a whole new side to the business and world of holiday cheer.
Sedaris, along with performing on the radio, is a comedian and performs many of his written work in stand-up form. Catherine Ellsberg ’16 started reading Sedaris’ work when she was eight. “His work is so, so witty,” said Ellseberg. “I think when you start reading David Sedaris you know it’s him. Listening to him on tape is actually hysterical. First off, his voice is hilarious. It’s hilarious but there’s always something really kind of dark about his writing and there’s even some tragic elements to some of it.”
David Sedaris’ work is enjoyable to all kinds of Smithies in Ellsberg’s eyes. “You don’t just have to be interested in writing or have to be an English major or anything [to see him]. He’s a phenomenon of sorts. He’s a real character. I think it’s such a pleasure to see someone who is so successful in what he does, but has managed to hold onto his own style and not give up on any of his quirkiness. He’s a true performer.” David Sedaris is also a playwright, having authored a number of plays with his sister Amy Sedaris, a noted actress. Their collaborations have been seen at La Ma Ma and the Lincoln Center Festival.
Students can see David Sedaris performing at the Calvin Theater on Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. For tickets go to the venue Web site at www.iheg.com/calvin_theater_main.asp