The Hidden Meaning Behind “There Are No Small Acting Parts Only Small Actors”
I bet you have clicked on this post because you expect to find out the hidden meaning to “There are no small acting parts, only small actors.” Here’s my take on it.
The Tony Awards show is Sunday, June 11! I’ve been listening to the Sirius Broadway station all week (honestly, I do most days anyway) and it’s wonderful to hear the performers’ interviews and all the nominated show music.
The Tony Awards are the Oscar Awards for Broadway–except they are more classy, in my humble opinion.
Theatre is different.
It is special, because it is live.
What’s the hidden meaning behind, “There are no small parts, only small actors”?
I got to thinking about the performers who are playing smaller parts in the nominated productions. If you ever see them on television in a short quip on a syndicated news or talk show, you’ll observe those supporting characters and chorus members are just as invested in the production as the leading actors.
That’s impressive. I bet the nominated actors and actresses began as chorus members and under studies many years ago. They put in their time portraying small acting parts and earned their stripes to receive the spotlight.
There are no small parts, only small actors
Just because you are cast in a small acting part does not mean you are not important to the show. If you think so, you have missed the point entirely.
You are still important to the show. Believe me.
However, if you can’t get past the fact that you are certain you could portray the role you didn’t receive just as well or better than the person cast, it might be best for you to focus on something else in your life.
Get over yourself, you know?
I was Blanche in “Brighton Beach Memoirs” 1989
If you aren’t cast in the role you wanted, it is not a big enough reason not to be involved in a production. Maybe you are to learn or gain something else from the experience? Life is a journey, you know.
For several days after I cast a production, I deal with hurt egos of cast members or those who auditioned for me and didn’t receive the role they desired.
I know I’ve previously mentioned this–casting a production has a lot to do with who a director envisions in a role.
Sometimes I have no idea who I want to play a part. Other times, the right person walks in and is perfect. They are the essence of the character all ready.
Some people can mold themselves into what I am looking for in a character. Those people are special because they are versatile.
There are other factors in the decision to cast someone, however.
Do I know their work? Are they responsible? Are they known to be difficult to direct and/or not a team member?
I was Dot in “Cricket in the Hearth” 2000
There are people who can only portray straight roles. Straight roles are those parts most closely related to your personality.
Have you ever seen someone in a movie who plays the same sort of roles in each movie? The roles the actor portrays is much like her off screen. Aha. Personally, I think Meg Ryan is a good example of someone who can only portray a straight role.
Then there are character roles. Characters roles are those parts which are unlike you–because of your age, stature or personality. Paul Giamatti can portray character roles with such genius.
Ugly step sister
Luckily, I can play both straight and character roles. That makes me more valuable to a director. To be honest, I enjoy performing character roles the most, because usually they are interesting and unique.
It isn’t about playing the lead. It is about who you are best suited to portray.
Guess what? I have not been cast in a production before. No joke! (I’m scoffing here a bit. I hope you understand.)
So, chin up! If you don’t receive the role you craved for, your time will come in the future.
If you’d like to know about my acting journey, check this out: https://wordpress.com/post/dramamommaspeaks.com/389
Watch the Tony Awards this Sunday, June 11 and pick out the chorus members or those supporting characters, folks portraying small acting parts. See if you notice them. If they are good at it, you’ll only observe them filling out the stage–sort of like shadows in a painting.
I know several actors who will perform that evening. I am very excited for them.
Shout a “Bravo!” to your television and I will, too.
I think they will magically hear us…..
I was Miss Prism in “Importance of Being Earnest” 1976
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