Polar Bears

Actors Basement presents a heartwarming holiday tragedy


A true story about a very big lie.

Written & directed by David Templeton
Performed by Chris Schloemp

December 23, 2018 at 7:00pm


Not recommended for children under 12 (or those who still believe in Santa Claus).

Written and directed by David Templeton ('Wretch Like Me," 'Pinky,' 'Mary Shelley's Body') and performed by Chris Schloemp ('The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'), ‘Polar Bears’ is a hilarious and poignant one-actor tour-de-force about family, fatherhood, Christmas, cookies, love, loss, holiday decorations, and the age old parental question, “Is there a right time for my kids to stop believing in Santa Claus?”

Told as a series of vivid memories, stirred up by stacks of Christmas supplies in an overcrowded attic, ‘Polar Bears’ is the story of David, an average father who finds himself in-over-his-head during one particular holiday season, back when his children, Jenna and Andy, were still small (and they still believed in old Saint Nick).

Since David’s own faith in Santa was lost when he was only four-years-old, he’s feeling the pressure to make sure the same doesn’t happen to Jenna and Andy. He goes to increasingly obsessive lengths to keep the kids' faith in Santa alive, devising a plan involving treasure hunts, letters from the North Pole, and an ever-growing list of “Santa Rules.” It all backfires, of course, in unexpectedly life-changing ways.

Based on a true story, ’Polar Bears' blends the sweet, narrative nostalgia of Jean Shepherd’s “A Christmas Story” with the sharp, observational honesty of David Sedaris’ “The Santaland Diaries,” creating a wholly original, twist-filled, wild ride of a tale, one that celebrates the power of love, the thrills of creativity, and the unpredictable magic of Christmas.


“Extremely personal and deeply emotional, by turns heartbreaking and hilarious, David Templeton’s ‘Polar Bears’ may not restore your belief in Santa Claus, but could restore your belief in parenthood.”
—Daedalus Howell, North Bay Bohemian

“Laced with fun and humor, ‘Polar Bears’ is a beautifully crafted show, that will bring laughter and tears, usually at the same time. ’Polar Bears’ grabs at the heart and tickles the funny bone, a perfect mix for the holidays. It gives us another reason for the season - belief in the power of love.”
—Suzanne Angeo, Sonoma County Gazette

“Filled with universal themes - love, loss, the importance of family - ‘Polar Bears’ gets to the very heart of Christmas.”
—Alexa Chipman, Imagination Lane

“When it comes to the magic of Christmas, playwright David Templeton is a true believer.”
—Jason Walsh, Sonoma Index-Tribune