Dec 20, 2017–How come the Grinch gets all the hot Whos?
That was my takeaway after a challenging week performing as Dr. Seuss’s beloved nemesis in Regan Mann’s tap dance production at Fredericksburg Theater Company.
First, let me establish that this role challenged my limited acting chops. It included dressing in what looked–and felt–like an avocado green shag carpet from the 1970s with incredible makeup by Sunshine the Clown, right down to the lime green hair and slimy black teeth.
(By the way, a week later, the hair still sported green highlights.)
Just for a lark, I decided to stay in makeup after the Friday night show and walk Main Street in Fredericksburg.
Seeing the Grinch waltz into a wine bar opened the eyes of tipsy patrons, but it also opened my eyes. Basically this: How come everyone loves The Grinch? The vile, caustic, frown-y, Scrooge-y Grinch?
I’ve spent my whole post-pubescent life trying to be “nice” because that’s what I was taught would lead to success. I guess it worked–being good attracts jobs, a spouse, and a thousand “friends” on Facebook. But being The Grinch, hating on everyone, brought more affirmation than I ever experienced in one evening. People flocked to his side. Everyone–moms, pops, fat kids, skinny kids, even kids with chicken pox.
From surly older gentlemen (“get a picture with my dad–we all call him the Grinch, too”), to an entire extended family that insisted on a photo for their Christmas album.
And who knew The Grinch was such a lady’s man?
Women of all ages, attitudes, and blood alcohol content insisted on taking a selfie with the Green Monster. I wonder how many Christmas cards next year will feature my verdant alter ego?
It wasn’t just my Grinch-y looks that were off putting. While in character, I wasn’t nice at all. I’m a mean one, Mr. Grinch. Let us count the ways:
- I stood in traffic and shook my green shaggy fist at Ford F-150s.
- I yelled at tourists to “go home.”
- I walked against the light in front of a Harley rider.
- I waltzed (literally) into a fancy restaurant and solemnly informed a group of children they were eating Rudolph burgers.
- I stopped at tasting rooms and berated hostesses for not serving green wine.
- I told attractive women “they could do better” right in front of their bemused dates.
- I stepped into bars and demanded The Grinch cocktail.
- I stole a rack of Christmas stockings and blamed Cindy Lou Who.
- I accosted children in strollers and told them I was going to steal their presents.
- I stood on stage in front of a band and plugged my ears and made anguished faces at “the noise.”
- I even walked off with a band’s tip jar.
- I tossed candy on the floor.
- I ridiculed an older gentleman for not taking his wife to a better class of restaurant.
- Inside the Christmas Store, well… let’s just say they asked me to leave.
And after each of these insults and putdowns, an amazing thing happened. People laughed.
If I had done or said the exact thing as, say, a columnist, I would have been punched (I know this to be true, as it has happened).
But when you are dressed as a shaggy, green, acerbic, animated fictional character, people not only put up with your crap, they beg for more.
I don’t know.
I guess you can get away with being mean.
But only if you’re green?
Have a Grinch-y Christmas.