Every time I finish working on a play, I want to tuck myself into a little ball and cry. There's something so final about it. When you finish working on a show you've lived in for several moments of several weeks and those final credits begin to roll, you are forced to live in THE END. No more rehearsals taking up your free time, friend time, and family time. No more laughing at flubs, fall downs, and trip-ups with people you barely know but will have an esoteric kinship with weeks down the line. No more freaking out about whether you're ready for opening night. No more mini intestinal explosions in the two seconds before the lights go up, and no more sweaty exhilaration when the curtain goes down.
A day with a play at the end of it can explode your daily mood into something extraordinary. From a laugh you hear in the back row after you've uttered a line no one's laughed at before to a moment of valiance when you and your fellow actor save each other from imminent disaster at a forgotten word or prop. It's these seemingly insignificant moments of accomplishment that can both tickle your soul and momentarily erase everything you've experienced prior to walking through that stage door.
I love theatre lingo. I like saying, "Shall we enter from stage left then?" just as much as I like listening to the stage manager announce that "we're about to open the house." There's even pleasure derived from the two words everyone gets sick of hearing during a tech rehearsal: "Hold please". I love backstage gossip about, say, last week's episode of "Project Runway" when one of you is putting on a wig and the other is duct taping a power cord to the concrete floor while someone else is pulling on their pants or stretching in the background. It's my kind of fun and my kind of people. A day with a play, to me, is a holiday.
When my play ended on Sunday, it was a lonely train ride back to Brooklyn. I remember saying my goodbyes and hearing Hunter, our lighting operator, say, "Goodbye forever!" I totally got what he meant. Things are never the same when you finish a show. The transitory family you've constructed in that hallowed space and the fleeting moments you've all shared are gone, and it (and you) will never be the same again. There's celebration and tribute in saying goodbye and bittersweet rest in The End.
I, of course, can't wait for the next beginning.
Thank you Captain Gary, Sweetie Scott, Digable Dave, Pirate Ien, Pal Hunter, Legal Charis, Spotless Melinda, Prettier-Than-Matt-Damon Adam, Dimple Dena, Lovely Michael, Brother Blake, Awesome Adrienne, and Invisible Marcus. And to anyone I forgot, I'm [insert] Andi.