My amazing Effy wrapped up her first theater experience in The Hobbit a couple weeks ago. I’m not calling her amazing because she has talent dripping from her (which she does) or because she’s my kid (which I can’t stake any claim to her genius since we do not share DNA). My amazement stems from Effy’s big heart.
During this experience, she has talked non-stop about three people: the director, the fellow playing Bilbo, and a young lady who plays an elf.
The director of The Ruffin’s production of The Hobbit is one fabulous Cozset Jones. She has a tremendous talent for working with children. She makes them feel that their small part is the most important of the play. That is all that Effy needed to go out on stage and be tremendous. Her first experience could have been her last experience had she felt insignificant. Thank you, Cozset, for fanning a small little flame.
Aric Delashmit, aka Bilbo Baggins, put forth a wonderful performance, but that’s not why I am commending him. Under all that talent (and there is a lot of it) is a man who is thoughtful, kind, and generous to everyone. Aric helped Eff memorize lines, figure out staging, and (the biggest thumbs up) high-fived her after every stage exit. That, my dear readers, makes me heart melt. This young man had no reason to encourage her along. He had every reason to disregard such a young first-time actress with such a bit part, but he didn’t. He took the time to encourage her dream and teach her the craft. Thank you, Aric. May I adopt you?
B., aka Elfin Guard 1, was the person Effy looked for when entering the theater. B. spent time talking and playing games backstage with Effy; she took Eff under her wing and made sure she was feeling like part of the group. Effy’s 9 years old and B. is a Sophomore in high school. She didn’t have to pay any attention to Eff. B. had friends in the play with whom to hang out, but she spent that time with Eff and helped her get acquainted the other actors and with life backstage.
On closing night, I had Effy buy flowers for these three and write them a short note expressing her gratitude. I don’t know what she wrote in those notes, but Bilbo hugged me, and Elfin Guard #1 showed the note to her family who expressed audible “awwwwe.” I’m proud of my Effy not only for being courageous enough to step out on the big stage in front of crowds and be a scene-stealing Grocer Girl, but for her tremendous heart, also.
Effy didn’t like the play – the story, that is – but she loved being in the play largely because of these three people. I hope they know that they have fanned an interest into a passion simply by taking the time to befriend and encourage a child.