It doesn’t matter how big or small the show is. It doesn’t matter how much you loved or hated it. Closing night is always sad. This thing has been an integral part of your life for months, or possibly YEARS. Now, it's over in the blink of an eye and the next phase of your life begins.
At some point in the rehearsal process, a show leaves your hands and takes on a life of its own. Then, our job shifts from creating to nurturing and protecting the piece, holding it together while still allowing it room to breathe. This can easily become not only a full-time job, but an all-consuming one.
The run of the show has its own life with good nights, bad nights, and everything in between... then closing night comes around; The audience goes home. The dancers take their things from the greenroom. Maybe you go out to celebrate, or perhaps you’re left sweeping the stage of an empty theater. Either way, the theater isn’t the only thing that is empty....there is a hole in your heart the size of Radio City Music Hall and all you can think is:
It can be hard to recalibrate your life, but if you want to fill that emptiness with something besides a couple bottles of wine, here are some ideas. (And if you go for the wine instead, I promise I won’t judge you.)
1. Knock out your to-do list.
If you’re anything like me, working on a show probably means you forgot about everything else in life- hanging out with friends, paying bills, eating, showering, etc… this is a good time to catch up on those things. In the weeks leading up to your show, keep a list of everything you’re likely to fall behind on and fill your newfound space with those things. Not only will you keep yourself busy, but you’ll have a sense of accomplishment as well.
2. Take a vacation.
The idea of keeping a to-do list of normal-people stuff might be overwhelming if you don’t have the mental or emotional energy to tackle it. Maybe your brain and body need a break...or better yet, a vacation! Don’t wait until the show is over- plan your vacation in advance. Not only will you benefit from the opportunity to recharge, but knowing that break is coming will help you get through the stress of Show Week(s).
3. Start the next project.
Look through your journal, notebook, playlists, or wherever you keep your ideas. Pick an idea and start working on it. You don’t have to book a venue or hold auditions yet- the whole idea is to take a break from being in "production mode." But starting to brainstorm ideas will keep you busy and creatively stimulated.
My favorite way to do this is by making collages. I keep a box of magazine clippings filled with anything I find visually interesting. This box has ten years’ worth of images that I periodically come back to- usually while listening to music. Inevitably, I’ll find an image that somehow makes sense with a song and BAM- a storyboard is born. It may or may not come to fruition as a performance piece, but it becomes a playground where I can create freely.
What are your go-to remedies for that post-show crash? Please share!