When I was a child, I used to be so sad and depressed when a production I had been in would end. My mother would witness her child go into a funk and knew it was going to happen each time. You become family with people when you mount a show. And then they are gone. As I got older and did shows professionally, I learned to bounce back much more quickly from that edge of depression of it being over. And now since I tend to write my feelings, I couldn't hold back from analyzing what I went through the past two months.
Several years ago, I walked away from theater to concentrate on being a writer. I had spent so much of my time going from show to show, but really had forgotten what it was like. The past two months was a huge reminder. The hours of rehearsal. The memory work involved. The fear that comes the older you get when we somehow lose that "I can do anything" attitude we had when we were younger. But I accepted the challenge. I took the journey. And I'm so glad that I did.
I learned about myself during the process. I even thought about the type of story teller I am as a writer. And I wanted to get to the depth of my character. Yes, Next to Normal is a musical - but it is an emotional play of family dynamics, loss, love, grief - and these are themes I love to write about as well.
I learned about friendship. Those that support you during the process. That believe you can accomplish what you set out to do. That come to the performances and support your endeavors.
And I learned that as an adult, the sadness felt when the show is over is slightly different from that when I was younger. Yes, I'll miss all those involved in the production. I'll miss the excitement of doing the show and getting that instant acknowledgement (that you don't receive as a writer). But what I really found was - I'll miss the character that I played. I was a husband. A father. A man attempting to hold together a 19 year marriage as his life was cracking around him and I felt for this man. I loved portraying him for an audience and I carried his 'world' home with me each night. I can't say thanks enough to my director for trusting me with this man and for 4th Wall for producing such a great show.
And as an author? Well, I've always thought my next book out would be Fences That Divide Us, but there has been another on the back burner that may just push it's way forward now for 2013. A few years back I wrote a novel about a married man who was the stay at home dad while his wife went to work and once his child starts school, he has no idea what to do with his life. After this experience, I believe it is time to revisit that novel and get it out sooner rather than later.
So the experiences we have in life - even when a show ends - may just be the beginning of something else.
|The cast of Next to Normal|
Photos by: Tom Schopper