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A little something Apr 29, 2016

by Frank Boyd

There are many good reasons to see 600 Highwaymen’s Employee of the Year. In fact, all of the usual good reasons are accounted for. Beautiful performances and writing. Light, set and sound design. The vibe. The event. Everything is in order. 5 stars out of 5 for real.

But I just couldn’t get over the fact that they are here. The performers. Five eleven-year-old girls. Rachel, Stella, Alice, Violet and Candela. I knew going in that the show was performed by young girls but when they appeared I had an instant lump in my throat and it never went away. I realized I always take for granted that the performers of the show I’m seeing are there. Of course they are. They’re actors or dancers and they’re here because they’re in the damn show where else would they be and I wish they would move it along so I can decide if I like this or not.

Employee of the Year was totally different. I was completely invested in the story the they were telling but I never lost track of the incredible fact that these girls all came out here to be in this show I’m watching. Aren’t they supposed to be in school? Are their parents here? Are they having fun? They don’t seem nervous are they nervous? Do they get along? I can’t believe they’re here. I feel like I’m gonna cry. They are such beautiful people. Where did they find these kids? As performers they are skillfully serving the story they’re telling - but they’re not trying to be or not be anything. They have so much integrity. How did they figure that out? (hat tip to Abby and Michael).

Employee of the Year is sad. It’s a sad story I mean. But the humanity radiating from these five girls is very hopeful. I projected so much onto them, including the future. The entire future. And that went well. I guess because onstage these five girls seem positively superior to me and the rest of us older people. And then I got to confirm this by chatting with them in the lobby after the show - something I highly recommend. They’ll be by the bar eating cupcakes and having intelligent conversation.

 

FRANK BOYD is a seattle based performer and writer. He is the creator of The Holler Sessions which premiered at OtB last year. Frank also works with Elevator Repair Service, the TEAM, and Young Jean Lee's Theater Company.

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