The production is over. The stage has been cleared. The cast and crew have parted ways once again for some long, overdue rest. Rest that will always be short-lived, of course, because the next production will arrive in the blink of an eye. It always does.
I had talked in the last post about relating to “Sunday in the Park with George” as a writer, and how the words of an empty white space mean so much to me. I should point out here that, for dancers, actors, singers, and directors, a black stage is just as empty, and just as filled with as many possibilities. I did not make that distinction because I do not have as much experience as those in the performance. Now, I feel like I can relate to that. George in the second act talks about his uncertain future: “George looks ahead. George sees the dark. George feels afraid.” A black stage is incredibly dark and neutral because it is a clean slate. As I was helping out with striking the set, and I saw the black paint rolling over the white, I was struck with a cold sadness, because I felt that the life was once again being taken out of the stage.
This is the time in which most performers hate: the realization that the production is over, and the shows are now just memories. It is a sad time for everyone involved, and even though the closing of a show is inevitable, it doesn’t make it any less emotional. That is what makes every production so special, because for a small moment in time, a group of people took the time and energy to come together and create something wonderful for all to see. Now that it’s over, the biggest question that typically forms around the cast and crew is, “What do we do now? Where do we go from here?” I feel that answer can be found in Dot’s words to George in the second act of “Sunday”:
Stop worrying where you’re going, move on.
If you can know where you’re going, you’ve gone.
Just keep moving on.
Oddly enough, this was the kind of advice I stuck with in writing the first draft of my novel. I had absolutely no idea where I was going with the story, and I had no time to stop and think about it. It was exciting to see what I would create next, but it was scary because I couldn’t see what I was creating until I had already done it. As I go through it and rewrite many things, I do find some comfort that I have a roadmap of where the story will go, but I have to remind myself that I and my work will not get any better unless I am willing to do what feels right and not worry about what I’ve already done.
The truth is, a theatre production, much like a concert or a novel, has a definite beginning, middle, and end. That’s what makes it so special. If a show went on forever, I think that eventually it would lose its allure, and people wouldn’t appreciate it like they should. At the same time, though, we don’t want things that are enjoyable and special to end. So, when the inevitable comes along, and the final curtain is drawn, what are we to do? We find something new, and we keep moving on.
Bravo to the cast and crew of UAH’s “Sunday in the Park with George.”
“Anything you do, let it come from you, then it will be new. Give us more to see…”