The Shortest Girl in the Room


Jennifer Ewing.jpgToday I want to tell you a story. I was going to write about something entirely different, but when this happened the other day I knew I needed to write it down.

I met a gentleman on the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, who, as it turned out, has done a lot of theatre with Bainbridge Performing Arts, where I am currently working. Well, we were swapping stories, getting to know each other. Shows, auditions, quick change shenanigans – you know, talking shop. He shared his experience of auditioning for Peter Pan with his daughter. As I understood it, his daughter was quite young, probably under ten years old, and on that day, a total bundle of nerves.

“Look at all the people, Dad!”

“Yes, look at all the people.”

I was struck by the unashamed bluntness of his response (and also by the inadvertent reference to A Chorus Line which is why I’m in Bainbridge in the first place). But come on, way to comfort your kid…geez!

“Look at each of the kids. They’re all taller than you. Which means, you’re the shortest one here.”

Well this just keeps getting better and better…

But then he continued softly,

“You’re different than all these other kids. That’s good. Do you think the director is going to want the Lost Boys to look all the same and be all the same size? I don’t think he will. You’ll be okay. You’re special.”

Well, maybe I’m a big baby but you could have knocked me over with a feather. What a simple little story, but so rich and so valuable.

Honestly I don’t know if he actually verbalized “You’re special,” but it came through so clearly when he was telling me the story I felt like I heard it. And I’m sure his little girl heard it too.

Gold star, Mr. Dad.