Yuletide fear

7 Stages bids farewell to much loved anti-holiday tradition

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Krampus Xmas: Mix All Developments proves awkward questions from well-meaning relatives might not be the scariest part of the Christmas season. A 7 Stages standard, the holiday horror show reimagines Santa’s nefarious brother in a different, unexpected situation each year. Over the past nine years, Krampus has solved murder mysteries, searched for the messiah, and been summoned by Doctor Faust. This time, the anti-Santa battles beasts and prevents the world from becoming a giant mall in a Kaiju-inspired tale. Kaiju movies, a staple of Japanese cinema, are known for giant monsters destroying cities as they fight other giant monsters. It’s the final exploit at 7 Stages for the seasonal Atlanta staple.

Krampus fills a unique slot every year for the hundreds of audience members who appreciate our celebration of laughter, togetherness, and a foul-mouthed demon on stilts,” Krampus director and 7 Stages co-artistic director Michael Haverty explains.

Krampus Xmas inspires a loyal Atlanta following of people who get their pictures taken with Krampus as if he were a mall Santa, follow the hairy demon from bar to bar in an annual pub crawl, and eagerly anticipate the show’s radical special effects. This year, the joke-cracking, children-drowning monster is portrayed by Adam Lowe. The actor, last seen in 7 Stages’s Threepenny Opera, does the whole thing on stilts, so the Krampus crew built Lowe special 3-foot-tall chairs for him to rest on between scenes. Lowe plays opposite a Mecha-Krampus robot, a feat that necessitates driving a 500-pound scissor lift onstage.

The show’s soundtrack is provided by the Little Five Points Rockstar Orchestra. The live music is a blend of rock 'n’ roll, metal, and original tunes. Silver Scream Spook Show director Shane Morton narrates the musical and burlesque dancer Sadie Hawkins performs awe-inspiring aerial stunts. Krampus Xmas, it seems, is a full-fledged family affair. Well, family-affair in the sense it took a village. Not because attendees should bring children. Definitely leave kids at home.

“From the early days of 7 Stages there has been a misfit group of luminaries that call our theater home,” Haverty says. “We forge relationships with artists and audiences to return again and again for our brand of provocative, meaningful, iconoclastic theater.”

The anti-holiday tradition comes to a close due to the creative team’s desire to explore other possibilities. “Recent weeks have caused us to reevaluate our coming season,” notes Haverty, “and reinvest in initiatives that reach out to the most vulnerable of Atlanta’s citizens with our art and our hearts.”

Krampus’s last adventure is a testament to the talented people who celebrate a place on Santa’s naughty list. After all, being nice has never been able to stop the horrors of mixed-use developments.

Krampus Xmas: Mix All Developments. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., Dec. 8-17. 7 Stages, 1105 Euclid Ave. 404-523-7647. www.7stages.org.