The acting coach Konstantin Stanislavski famously said,
“Remember there are no small parts, only small actors.”
In other words, it’s not the size of the role you play that matters so much…it’s how much you bring to your role.
Is that true in life as well as on the stage?
Consider Dolores Dante, a waitress interviewed by Studs Terkel for his classic book, Working. Listen to the way she describes her job.
“I don’t give anything away. I just give myself…I’d get intoxicated with giving service. People would ask for me. I didn’t have enough tables…I pick up a glass, I want it to be just right. I get to be almost Oriental in the serving. I like it to look nice all the way. To be a waitress, it’s an art. I feel like a ballerina too. I have to go between those tables, between those chairs…It is a certain way I can go through a chair no one else can do. I do it with an air. If I drop a fork, there is a certain way I pick it up. I know they can see how delicately I can do it. I’m on stage. I tell everyone I’m a waitress and I’m proud…Whatever you do, be professional…You hope everyone is satisfied. The night’s done, you’ve done your act. The curtains close.”
Who knows, some of the other waitresses may think she’s weird. But one thing you can say about Dolores: she’s enjoying herself. She’s not bored and she’s not boring!
And wouldn’t you like to have her for your waitress or your employee?
Dolores understands that important truth: the more of yourself you give to the roles you play, the more you get back.
She knows what happens when you bring something extraordinary to ordinary days and roles: you make your life a work of art.