I never realized how much I would miss performing until the spring after my most recent major production. I was acting in a small one-act, the kind that's too embarrassing to tell your friends about because it's cheesy and silly and difficult to explain. Though I couldn't bring myself to fall in love with the script, my passion for theatre was immediately reignited. And though I denied it then, it broke my heart to see the show end. I was pulled back into my post-show depression, which can best be defined as the gloomy feeling a performer soaks in after the final curtain falls. My evenings felt empty, my playlists were comprised of show-tunes and soundtracks, and I binged Glee until I felt normal again. You would think that after four plays, five musicals, and two stints as a member of set crew, it would be easier to adjust to life-after-it-ends. But if anything, it only gets harder.
I miss everything about the stage. The stress that fuels tech week. The late evenings and early mornings spent at rehearsal. The laughter and tears that always come from cast bonding sessions. The feeling of the hot, white, electric lights on your face as you step into the silence of a full audience. The applause as the curtains glide across the stage. The madness of quick changes, the hushed mumbles of actors looking for lost props, the awkward drop of a beat while you wonder whether you've missed your cue, and the sweet relief that follows when you hit the mark. I miss telling stories with my voice and body. I miss the transformation that blurs the line between character and girl. I miss finding a friendship with the role I've taken on.
I miss the escape of it all. The freedom of existing as someone else, somewhere else, with possibilities limited only by your own interpretation of the story.
Before the realities of my future dawned on me, I promised myself that I would someday play a role in a large scale production. Though I now know my time to do so becomes limited with every step I take towards my career, I would give anything for one more chance on the stage. It's been two years since my last major show, and my greatest fear is that it really was my last show ever. I've been trying not to grieve over the sudden loss I'm experiencing, because really, what's there to be upset about? I had my shot, I played some parts, and all good things come to an end.
I just wished I had known then that it might've been the end.