date published: December 17, 2007

5 questions with...

Guy OlivieriCrumpet the Elf  
by Josh B. Wardrop

The Santaland Diaries—humorist David Sedaris’ hilariously twisted memoir of his days working as a Santa’s helper at Macy’s—has become a new Yuletide theatrical tradition in Boston. As Diaries returns to the area with a run at New Repertory Theatre from December 19–30, Panorama checked in with the play’s grumpy lead character, Crumpet the Elf (with help from Crumpet’s alter ego, actor Guy Olivieri), to get his thoughts on the holiday season.

Q: If you could give parents one piece of advice about taking their kids to see Santa, what would it be?
A good elf knows that once a child starts crying, it’s all over. Parents need to can the art direction, get the picture taken and get ’em off the lap.

Q: Do you have any say over the standard elf gear you’re dressed in? Any chance to individualize it at all?
Nope. We are told exactly what to wear, and one’s self-esteem definitely takes a hit when you’re wearing candy-colored tights. Of course, anyone who says a nice new pair of tights doesn’t feel good is lying.

Q: You see a lot of people at Christmastime. Does the Christmas spirit still exist?
Honestly, the quickest way to have the Christmas spirit drained out of you is to watch people packing the malls pretending to be happy. Most people are faking it, unfortunately.

Q: What’s Santa really like?
It depends on the Santa. It’s actually a very well- hidden industry secret [SPOILER ALERT!] that there’s more than one guy wearing the red suit. As such, they can range from truly inspiring to utterly horrific. Some have political agendas, some can’t “ho-ho-ho” very’s a real crapshoot.

Q: Do you have a favorite holiday carol?
Probably “Auld Lang Syne”...because once you start hearing that, it means the season is over.