I'm sitting on my bed fifteen minutes before I have to head out to the theatre for our closing matinee. Closing. As in, no more. We'll be done with this wild little ride and everyone will jump off and form a line to the exit and all part their respective ways. I hate this part. And I sort of love it, too.
Closing always has a unique energy. Oftentimes, the 2:00 matinee time caters to a different crowd and the responses actors receive are different than the previous nights. I've heard actors say they hate matinees. They say the energy is always too low and the audiences too unresponsive. Secretly, I love them. The house is a bit quieter sometimes. So what? Actors are tired, but, hey, isn't that where the whole "acting" thing comes in? I like mats because they are a new challenge, a whole different beast. One final new experience for a cast to bond over before they're done. If it doesn't go so well, everyone gets to lament together one last time, and let's face it, casts are great at complaining together. When they exceed expectations, the joy and happiness is tangible. After months of nights spent together the cast gets to part one final time (after strike), this time in the blinding sun-- that's a bit more hopeful, right? They get to carry around that post-show buzz for the rest of the day like a little secret.
But it's so hard, too. Evenings and days don't revolve around performances afterwards. That first night home is always so awkward. What do you even do with "free time"? Casts who felt extraordinarily bonded don't have so much in common with each other anymore and start to slowly drift apart. That's life. Time to move on.
But a bit of the show always remains. You pass fellow cast and crew members on campus and wave and it makes your day just a bit brighter. You hang a poster on your wall. A conversation with another friend reminds you of a cast joke and you laugh in spite of yourself. You carry those memories with you to your next projects and shows and adventures and it's awesome.
The Mark has been a multi-term endeavor for me, full of highs and lows. I'm proud of what our little cast has accomplished and will undoubtedly grieve what will end in mere hours. But it's not time to focus on that right now. For the next few hours, The Mark still vibrant and alive. For the next few hours, I'll treasure what we've created, and then, like every other show, it'll be time to just let it go...