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Student’s original theatre performance explores life with dwarfism

March 21, 2014

Born with dwarfism, Beloit College student Elyse Hill has faced a life much different than normal. Told in her own words, her original, hour-long theatre piece Living Small explores her struggles with her disability both personally and with the world around her.

A theatre major from Portland, Ore., Hill spent nine months working on the script for Living Small, after theatre professor John Kaufmann suggested the idea based on a paper she’d written for one of his classes.

“It's been an interesting process,” Hill says, as well as a revealing one. “A lot of the things I explore throughout the show are thoughts that I've previously kept to myself. I've never really shared just how much my dwarfism affects me before, with other people. It was one thing for me to write all this down on paper, but getting up and sharing it has been an amazing and frightening experience.”

She says she describes the piece as a “one-woman-esque show,” as fellow Beloiter Paul McDonald also plays some parts of minor characters in the performance.

“Hopefully I'm able to make people find connections between their story and my story and realize we are all just humans,” Hill says. “I'm hoping audiences take away this idea that people with physical disabilities, such as dwarfism, aren't wrong or strange. We may be a little different, and thus we experience life in a different way, but we are still humans just like them.”

What: Living Small, an original theatre production
Kresge Theatre, Neese Theatre Complex


  • Tonight at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday (March 22) at 7 p.m.
  • Sunday (March 23) at 2 p.m.

(note: contains some mature subject matter)