Photo by Peter Lourie — courtesy of Middlebury Actors Workshop
Steve Small is an actor and director of the Addison Repertory Theater Company in Middlebury, Vermont. He is one of the most skilled actors in the state. His voice, attention to detail, emotional courage, and willingness to go wherever the demands of a character lead, make him spellbinding on stage.
In the past three years Steve has played Bobby Gould in Speed the Plow, Roy in Lone Star, Lennie in Of Mice and Men, and Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. What remains common in each role is craft, energy, and a complete commitment to the personality he is creating on stage. These are familiar and iconic roles, as difficult to interpret with originality as anyone playing the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz or McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Yet Steve's performances are fresh and unique.
As a veteran actor, Steve is hilarious and shows deft comic timing. As the addled Lennie, who accidentally kills a woman he only wanted to touch for a second, he uses silence to powerful effect — and is heartbreaking.
But Steve's greatest contribution is what he has done for kids. Addison Repertory Theater serves several purposes. First, it works with kids from local high schools to teach them about the theater. Kids write plays. They act. They dance. They learn technical skills, from set design to lighting to stage management to box office control. Many of these kids are already interested in theater, and have been looking for a way to express their interest beyond the typical school play. ART gives them real-life tasks that require competence, with other people depending on them, and with an audience that must be served. To a typical insecure adolescent, a standing ovation is much more than applause. It is a life-changing validation.
Congratulations to Steve Small for setting such a high standard for himself and those around him. This exemplifies Vermont creativity at its best.