“I was taught there that you should always make the other people look good.”
They say there are no small parts, only small actors, but “they” never tell you what kind of weird shit tiny actors get themselves into. Here’s a few things to expect if you’re among the most versatile of the vertically challenged– a short improviser.
You will be labeled as a child. A lot.
You thought you were playing “sexually-charged,” but your scene partner saw “toddler pooping her pants.” This is also a description of the author’s dating life.
Specifically, you will be labeled as a little boy.
Short guy? You’re a little boy. Short lady? You’re a little boy. This is also a description of the author’s dating life. What?
Does your scene need a pet?
You’re the pet. Or the woodland creature. Or the domesticated kangaroo. Sometimes, you’re a guppy in a bowl because AWWW YOU ARE SO TINYYYYYUUUGHH!
Does your scene need a fairy/pixie/elf?
Get in there, small fry! You’re whimsical as hell with those stumpy-ass legs!
People will want/try to pick you up.
Some days they will succeed. And some days, you just ate Chipotle. Heh heh heh.
People will hit you in the head.
Accidentally, mostly. Your forehead is elbow-height, my friend! On a team with a tall-y with a lack of awareness? Play some Gollums. Save yourself. And finally…
People will use you as an armrest. On stage and off.
At the end of the day, we’re all just playing pretend. So pretend to be a basketball star, even if you’re really more of a waterboy. Be that menacing mogul instead of the mousey receptionist. There is no greater compliment as a tiny talent than to have people grab you after a show to remark on how much taller you seem on stage. That’s called confidence, and it’s transformative. And if that doesn’t work, well… invest in a good pair of heels.
Julie Marchiano is a graduate of The Conservatory and Writing Programs at The Second City Training Center and a two-time BoatCo alum (NCL Dawn, NCL Epic). She currently performs with Twisty: An Official House Ensemble of The Second City Training Center and all about town with people she loves. You can find out more about her at www.juliemarchiano.com.