Closing Time

So I had just turned 16 and was newly driving. I'd been in a show, some musical review no doubt, and the end of the show had come. We had a closing night party of sorts, at a cool little ice cream/sweet shop called The Flamingo Room (and I still recall it as one of my favorite places in Athens). I was teary eyed and tense as the play was over and my circle of friends, most of whom were from several different high schools and were so tightly drawn during rehearsals and performances, was now disbanded.

I drove home, listening to the radio, my little silver Honda Civic toodling down the back roads to my house, when I saw the red and blue flashing lights NO teenager wants to see.

I was being pulled over. I was appalled of course and freaked the fuck out. I think I'd had my license all of three months at that time. The officer was tall and stern, or at least he seemed that way. He asked me why I hadn't turned my lights on.

My lights.

I was driving at night with no lights on.

He wanted to do a breathalyser and at this point I think I exploded into tears and hysterics about the end of the show, the fact I had a crush on some older emotionally unavailable boy (naturally) and it was very drama,and very actress, and very 16.

He said, somewhat frustratedly, "Honey, the show had to end sometime.", and gave me a warning.

All this to say that I hated endings then, and I don't much like them now. I dislike them with the fire of a firey sun and the ice of something icy. I really don't like the end of shows in particular, because it means the little world that was built in rehearsals, the friendships and relationships which were guided and created as much by the characters we played as the real people we are....well? They may not last. Probably won't. I've been through it enough to know that while there are rare friendships that survive from show to show (and actually occur in the "real world"), the cameraderie of a theatrical production doesn't last past that closing night party, at least not often. And the next show, even with the same people, may have an entirely different feel.

And that sucks.

The beginning of a show, much like falling in love, is a very special time. And the performances (especially when the shows are really good) are like the best part of a romantic relationship/friendship and occasionally spiritual experience all rolled into one. Not only are you having a relationship that is creative and generative with your castmates and director, but also with the play or story itself. It can be intense and wonderful and scary and challenging.

But as that bigdaddy cop said so long ago, the show has to end sometime. It always does. Today, after the closing of a show I was in (and no I did not get pulled over), I'm just not sure how I feel about any of it, even though by the ending, there will be a beginning somewhere else.

Comments

  1. Agree, agree, agree! The other thing I found though is that when a show was over for me, the next time I saw my fellow actors, be it 4 weeks or 4 or 14 years, we always just picked the conversation back up where it left off. The bond was established through intamacy and connection; now it's there and time doesn't seem to diminish or weaken it.

    A couple of weeks ago I ran into an actor I hadn't seen in four years to do a little play reading for another friend. At the first table reading we were laughing and flirting the exact same way we were last time we laid eyes on one antoher. It was perfect. And I have no idea when I'll see him again.

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  2. "I dislike them with the fire of a firey sun and the ice of something icy."

    You are positively adorable. No doubt that's how you got out of the ticket! :)

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