Eric Schaeffer
Theater director

Eric Schaeffer

Co-founder and artistic director for Signature Theatre in Arlington, which won the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award for sustained artistic excellence.

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It's all good

Q: In South Korea, parents are so certain that height is crucial to success that they are taking their children to growth clinics for hormone shots, acupuncture and other treatments. Do certain physical attributes give people an advantage as they strive for success in the workplace? Are short people at a disadvantage in business or politics or other endeavors?

I would hope that no one's success is attributed to their height.

In today's world, so many people judge people on their looks, size and personality rather than their actual talent. It's sad that nations like South Korea have growth clinics for their children just because they are judged on size.

What's great about working in the theater is that anything goes. People dress with personality. It shows who we are as artists and people.

I would find it hard to have to wear a suit and tie everyday that became a uniform rather than who I am. I also find that when people can dress the way they like, they are more comfortable. They are more creative.

Size doesn't matter in our business -- in fact, sometimes it works to your advantage. When casting a show, there may be a certain physical type that we are looking for to paint the picture on stage. It could be a tall chorus girl or a small butler -- all the opportunities are there.

A few years back, I did a production of Snow White for Disneyland. Casting that show had specific height requirements that guided the casting process where height played an important role. All of a sudden, people who may have always thought they were too short were now the ones being courted. It all depends on the show and the worlds being created.

But in the entertainment world, it's all about the artistry of the person -- not the matter of height. The theater has always been a ground-breaker of barriers and I hope it will continue to be so, showing that no matter how tall you are, creative opportunities are waiting.

By Eric Schaeffer  |  January 3, 2010; 11:12 PM ET  | Category:  physical appearance Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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