I think the greatest problem with being a thespian is the end of a show that you've been working on long and hard for a while. You get your final curtain call and your flowers and your compliments, and everything you've ever wanted and worked for is practically handed to you because of how talented you are. But then it hits you.
The show is over.
My job is done.
I may never see some of these people again.
This, friends, is the worst part about being a thespian. If we weren't so darned friendly and easy to get along with, this wouldn't be a big deal. But we are. We typically become best friends midway through the first rehearsal. And that tends to make the end of a show that much more wretched.
I am writing this today mostly to cope with my newfound separation anxiety, but also to reflect on all the reasons why I love those gorgeous people so darn much.
This weekend was a sea of emotions. It was a spectacular confusing swirl of pastels and glitter and brilliant sunbeams and captivating lyrics. It showed me things about myself that I never knew before. But mostly it showed me how incredible people can be.
Our show opened last Sunday on a chilly December 4th afternoon. We had two shows that day. The first went well, as could have been expected. Let me tell you, there is no feeling quite as magical as the hot stage lights illuminating your face as the show you've worked so long to perfect finally begins in front of an audience. We were incredibly proud when the show was finished and we got a sliver of time to hop into our motor vehicles and rush off to get food.
I went with Dallas and Matthew to Subway. We got our food and then went on an adventure in King Soopers during which we bought gorgeous Emma a rose. I think it's fair to say that I am the greatest wingman ever.
The time came for us to prepare for the second show, and everything was still going surprisingly well. We had a few mishaps, but nothing major. Those of you who do theatre can probably guess what happened next.
By now you must know that I am a very accident-prone human being. This tends to work against me a lot of the time. There I was, backstage, casually stretching so I would not pull a muscle and guess what happened?
I pulled a muscle. In my lower back.
The beautiful caring cast and crew whom I love and *adore* made me lay down and take meds and gave me Icy Hot and prayed for me and let me cry and gave me a good luck charm. I managed to perform with it pulled anyway, but that's not the point.
The point is, I love them.
And I can't even begin to describe how much. If I didn't have them, I wouldn't have gone on. Honestly. Yes, I had put months of time into perfecting the show, and ordinarily an injury wouldn't hold me back but I was in so much pain and I was so very tired and all the stress and stuff of the previous weeks came crashing down on me right then. I had no motivation to go on.
With the exception of a few shining faces who let me lay on the pool table between scenes.
I did go on. I don't regret it. We did in fact have to change all my blocking on the fly so I could do the whole show sitting down, but we managed to pull it off and no one in the audience really seemed to notice. I think we're a lot cooler than we give ourselves credit for.
Friday was my mom's birthday and our next show, the one my family and friends came to, and they all said we did a fabulous job. Then came the next Sunday and with it, tears. We put on our last two shows and rocked it out of the ballpark like we tend to do, and afterwards, the girls were all pleasantly surprised.
The incredible guys in our cast went out during our dinner break to buy us flowers and chocolate and write us notes.
We found the bouquets lined up in our dressing room and that was about the time I started to cry. I'd been holding it in all day but I think that was a good time to become emotional. So I did.
Then we cleaned up and went adventuring to Village Inn where we talked about how much we were going to miss each other but that we were going to stay in contact and be best friends forever. I've done that with all of my previous casts, but never have I been so confident or believed every word as much as I do with this one.
The separation anxiety kicked in when I was hugging them goodbye.
I went home to put my flowers in a vase and script this facebook status:
I think it's about time that I defined "heartsong."
A heartsong is exactly what it sounds like - a song from your heart. It's the song that takes a lifetime to discover. The song with a melody as sweet as the rising sun and as strong as the opening line of a show. It's the rhythm tapped out by all the footsteps of the lives that have touched you and all the lives you've known. It's the chorus of everything you are fighting for and everything you know is right mingled with the harmony of the laughs of those you can't even begin to imagine life without. It's courage and freedom and adventure. It's beautiful and powerful and vibrant.
It's a symphony.
And if you've ever listened to a symphony you know how fantastic it can be. From the anticipation you feel when the musicians go silent and the conductor raises his baton to the breathtaking crescendo to the stunning melodic final note that gives you chills. It's impossible to describe the feeling of peace and awe and clarity that is found when you discover your symphony.
A huge piece of my own symphony was uncovered when I met those people.
I was having a rough day yesterday, and a friend told me something that I'd never considered before. He told me I deserve a symphony. And I couldn't help but realize that he's right. I do, as does everyone else. It's hard to find, trust me. And there will be more flat notes and grueling mishaps than you would want. But let me encourage you, sweet friends, never to stop dreaming and composing and searching for your own symphony. You'll discover bars in the most random of places.
Just like I found mine in a strained back and a teary-eyed Sunday night.
I'm still figuring out which path I'm taking and I'm still searching for the rest of my heartsong. But I can rest now knowing that I don't have to find it. Because it somehow always manages to find me.
I can't even begin to describe how much my cast, my family, my friends, and my Designer mean to me. My life would be a heck of a lot more difficult if I didn't have them to send me encouraging texts and buy me flowers and on occasion carry me to my car. And though my heartsong is anything but complete, it is still undoubtedly spectacular.
And I have a beautiful collection of stunning faces with gorgeous names to thank for that.