< PortFringe 2024


Illuminati? Or Illuminice? – Allen Adams

To learn more about this show, click here.

POSTED 7/4/2024

Allen Adams brought a captivating blend of humor, conspiracy theory, and holiday spirit to the PortFringe Festival with his one-night-only show, “Illuminati or Illuminice: A Secret History of Santa Claus.” Performed at Freedom’s Edge Cider in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood, Adams enthralled a packed audience with his imaginative and scholarly take on the origins and evolution of Santa Claus.

Known for his intellectual dives into literary and fictional characters in the PortFringe POP-UP shows, Adams expanded his usual short-format presentations into a comprehensive one-hour lecture. Despite my initial skepticism about his ability to maintain the audience’s interest for the extended duration, Adams proved to be more than up to the task.

Standing behind a podium at the head of his capacity classroom our intrepid self-proclaimed crypto-theorist host spoke at length about the secret history of Santa Claus including potential ties to the Illuminati. Advancing through a projected slide deck, Adams paused to elaborate (sometimes at great length) about the genesis, rise, and inevitable immortalization of the jolly old elf. Adams traced convincing ties to secret societies from ancient scrolls and Christian/cultural traditions to the feel-good propaganda of the famous Yes, Virginia editorial, Coca-Cola ads, and It’s a Wonderful Life. While some of the bits ran a bit long, Adams was never a bore — and throughout the lecture he seeded and (in this reviewer’s opinion) successfully defended his not-implausible thesis that Santa is a tool of the Illuminati (he does see us when we’re sleeping, and keeps lists of who is naughty, after all)!

Adams assuaged any potential conspiracy theory paranoia or fear by reminding us that Santa has somehow managed to remain benevolent and good — wanting good things for us… empathizing with us… caring for us… even LOVING us – which Adams also reminds us is exactly what the Illuminati wants… BUT even if Santa IS a trope being used by the Illuminati to subvert us — is that actually a bad outcome? Adams reminds us that the Illuminati could have done a lot worse than Santa Claus!

With the formal lecture clocking in at around 40 uninterrupted minutes, when Adams opened the floor for questions from the audience, I was at once intrigued, uncomfortable, and, frankly, on the edge of my seat. Would anyone actually ASK questions? If they did, would Adams be able to keep up?

The answer is a resounding YES, VIRGINIA!

That unexpected Q&A sesh was a goddam delight. Adams more than capably flexed his impressive improvisational theater background, fielding dozens of audience questions and providing deeply scientific, intellectually satisfying responses — speaking extemporaneously about quantum entanglement, time manipulation, and command of the subatomic to explain how Santa can execute a one-night gift delivery miracle, or how reindeer are able to fly. He also had fast and witty responses for human-interest questions about Mrs. Claus (no comment), Hallmark Channel holiday movies (shadowy behind the scenes propaganda), and Elf on Shelf (a tool of the Illuminati, obviously, duh). When a Jewish audience member expressed some feelings about Santa, Adams earnestly urged them to consult their rabbi.

Allen Adams demonstrated a unique and enviable blend of scholarly analysis, unparalleled improv skill, and abundant charm in ILLUMINATI….OR ILLUMINICE? I was glad I got to see this one-night only show, and judging from the other people in the room, they felt the same way.

Submitted by Sarah A. Lewis: PF24 Independent Review Team

< PortFringe 2024

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