Small Parts Do Matter
Updated: Apr 10
Remember there are no small parts, only small actors. --Constantine Stanislavsky
Let’s be real. There are small parts. Not every part is a lead. Not every part can be a lead. There are roles in a show that require huge amounts of research and time spent memorizing lines and exploring characters. Then there are parts that are, for lack of a better word, small. They don’t require the in-depth analysis of a lead or even a secondary/supporting character. Some parts only have a few, or even no lines. They are there to highlight, oppose, or balance the lead. There are parts meant to fill out a scene and lend context to the story. Let’s be even more real. I want the actors in my family (myself included) to have the juicy, “large” roles.
But I get it, Stanislavski. It’s about ego. Our job as actors is to embrace whatever role we are given with grace and professionalisim. It’s about the value of the part, not the size.
I understand this better as a director and a writer than as an actor or stage mom. Oh how often I catch myself thinking or saying, well, it’s just an ensemble role. Every part, large or small, meaty or mealy, is essential. Nothing on stage is put there randomly. Someone – the director, writer, maybe a producer — felt that the scene needed something and chose that player to perform that function, creating a certain picture or feel for the scene.
I have often thought of myself as the star of my own life. The fairy tale princess, complete with handsome prince and four little heirs to inherit our kingdom. It’s an idea that fits in well in this world of self-idolizing, self-promotion, be-your-best-self, embrace your mess, treat-yo’-self messages.
But I am not the star. None of us are. We are, at best, ensemble players, acting out many small parts in service to a greater story.
“When we try to make the Bible all about us, when we miss the overarching story of the Redeemer’s suffering and glory, its message gets twisted all out of shape.” – Elyse Fitzpatrick, Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation
Does this mean we are unloved? Unimportant? Does God not want an intimate, personal relationship with us?
Not at all!
He so loved the world that he sent his son to die for us (John 3:16)
Not a sparrow falls to the ground without his notice, how much more does he love us? (Luke 12:6)
He counts the hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30)! I love my children so, so much, but I can barely keep track of their shirt size, let alone the number of hairs on their heads!
So yes, we are beloved. We are important. We are called, drawn in to this intricate story, the Created in harmony with the Creator. We just aren’t the star of the show.
***This post was originally published at www.classichiltons.wordpress.com