Reed Sigmund, a member of the Children's Theatre acting company since 2002, has played the Grinch four times at the holidays in Minneapolis. As he dons the green paint and disaffected mien of the thief of Christmas once again, he is having a hard time shaking his character. In fact, for a recent interview, the Grinch came through loud and clear.
Q: The holidays are big for humans. What are your rituals this time of year?
A: Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, I get out my grandmother's secret cookie recipe — tastiest cookie recipe ever. I spend a whole day making the dough, then get out the antique cookie cutter, make them perfect and put them in the oven for six hours. Burn them to a crisp. Then I throw them at passersby. Knock out a few.
Q: Do people try to catch and eat these cookies?
A: One person did once. Lost all his teeth.
Q: You have Max in your life. Do you have any special rituals?
A: We do secret Santa and I always draw him and he draws me. I've gotten him a signed picture of me. And fleas, a whole lot of fleas. He gave me rabies.
Q: In human society, we associate green with money and the environment. What's it like being green?
A: Well, I'm the only creature in the world who's green. And I think it's because of the amount of asparagus that I eat. I love all things asparagus. Especially the smell. Used asparagus is my favorite odor.
Q: Have you bottled it, a la Gwyneth Paltrow?
A: I have, and mailed it to my enemies.
Q: People have ideas about the Grinch, like that he has a heart two or three sizes too small. Is that just a stereotype?
A: That's the truth. And I should say that due to its size, it is terrible at pumping blood. That's why my circulation is wretched and I never sit cross-legged.
Q: Are there other ways you are misunderstood?
A: I think people assume I can't dance. I can and will prove them wrong at every opportunity.
Q: Favorite music to dance to?
A: I have a collection of antique Christmas records. What I did was I took a sharp razor blade and I scratched the records to bits. And I put them on and just listen to them skip and break. Broken records are my favorite music. I love hearing Christmas music getting mangled.
Q: Do you have a therapist?
A: No. I don't need someone telling me how I feel.
Q: Cindy Lou Who, this girl who reaches out to you, what is she like?
A: C.L. Dubs we call her. Obnoxious. Whiny. Spoiled. But she has cute hair.
Q: Do you have things in common with Cindy Lou Who?
A: We both have faces.
Q: Did you ever touch her hand?
A: Nope. She tried to hold my hand once. Did not go well. For me. I ran and I tripped and had a concussion. Well, I'm an athlete.
Q: What do you like to play?
A: Tackling. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible. I have more tackles in my high school basketball division than anybody. I love the sounds of joints, elbows hitting the hardwood floor.
Q: Does the Grinch like horseback riding?
A: Well, the horses usually ride him. I love scuba diving. Probably my favorite sport.
Q: And what do you see down there?
A: Things that have sunk, died, crashed. It's like a beautiful, quiet graveyard.
Q: That's where you find joy and solace?
Q: How are the holidays for you?
A: Lonely. Too much noise, merriment, friendship — all things that I hate. I hate smiles, eye contact, handholding. It's really rough. But every year on Christmas Eve, I get down on my knees, look at the stars and make the same wish.
Q: What's your wish?
A: That every Who in Whoville and the rest of the world will wake up with mildly explosive food poisoning. It's actually hilarious — the sights, sounds, smells. It's really a celebration of all the senses.
Q: Say, there's another fellow across town, Ebenezer Scrooge, who also has an antipathy toward the holidays.
A: Technically, we're second cousins. I did that 23andMe thing. I was surprised. Second cousin on my mom's side.
Q: How did finding that out make you feel?
A: It was bittersweet. I was hoping that I didn't have any family. At least he has something in common with me, and that is pure disgust for humanity.
Q: What's your biggest success?
A: I like knowing, and this has been proven true, that when children go to sleep, they have nightmares about me. That takes years of dedication, passion, uncaring.
'Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas'
Who: Music by Mel Marvin, book and lyrics by Timothy Mason. Choreography by Linda Talcott Lee. Directed by Peter Brosius.
When: 7 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 2 & 5 p.m. Sun. Ends Jan. 8.
Where: Children's Theatre, 2400 3rd Av. S., Mpls.
Tickets: $15-$89. 612-874-0400 or childrenstheatre.org.
Protocol: Masks encouraged.