No More

The stage where we made our magic.

We had our final show on Sunday and a get together after that went into the evening. I got home after 1 AM and I felt it Monday morning.

A day later, there’s still a sense of sadness, of loss, floating around me.

A few minutes before we went on stage, I had a moment where I realized part of what makes live theatre so special. What you experience as a cast, creating art together, is a unique experience that, by its nature, can’t be reproduced.

That group of people, the place, the time, the story we’re telling, the audience. You might have a similar experience, and never the same.

My final scene, singing No More, was my best ever. I performed it well, technically, hitting the pacing and notes I wanted. Much more, though, was how I felt. I felt the character, hearing his son express grief at a father he’d never known, and his response, feeling the pain and yet offering the best he believed he had in his appeal to run away.

I sang with tears in my eyes and ended strong, hitting the harmony we’d been working on and reaching out, grasping my scene partner’s shoulder just before walking off.

Backstage, the emotions of the scene began to wash off and were soon replaced by the emotions of the experience as a whole as we moved towards the final songs. By the time we got to No One Is Alone, most of us backstage had tears in our eyes.

What an experience. A cast member after shared the quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” While easier said than done, it well represents my conclusion. And while this particular experience will be no more, I’ll be forever impacted by what I had the privilege of experiencing.

Showtime

It’s quiet in the green room. Most of the cast is in places and the music is about to start. Evan, Emme, and I and have a bit of time before our scenes.

Tonight is our fifth show. We opened on Friday, did two shows on Saturday, and another on Sunday. We’ve had a few days off and now we’re back at it with ten shows to go over the next two weekends.

I’m really enjoying it. All of our hard work has paid off and we’ve got an excellent show. I still feel some nerves. It’s been important to keep practicing, keeping the lines and lyrics top of mind. I’m excited, though, and am looking to experimenting with subtle improvements to my characters over the next shows.

It’s been a lot of work. It’s been worth it, though, and now we get to enjoy the payoff of all that work. I’m almost up now. It’s showtime!

Nerves

Last Thursday, I got back from an overnight trip to Florida and made my way to rehearsal. I’d missed the previous few days and wasn’t where I wanted to be with my performances. No regrets – I’d done my best with all the time I had available – yet I knew I didn’t have it yet.

We began the run and I waited backstage for my queue. A minute or two in, I noticed that my nerves were a wreck. I wasn’t feeling it. The first act was fairly strong. The second act, though, I just didn’t have. I had the lines nearly memorized, yet the timing and sequence was off.

About halfway through the night, while I waited for my next queue, I hit my low point and had the “run” feeling. “What am I doing here? I’m not ready for this.. I should run and hide.”

I acknowledged the feelings and took a breathe. This is what I signed up for. This is the discomfort I sought. I knew it would be hard. I also knew I could do it. And I knew that I just have to keep going.

As I waited to go on again, I reminded myself to smile. I directed my energy into focusing on what my character was feeling. It didn’t take all the nerves away, but it helped.

At the end of the night, our director called us together. She was frank about where we were at and let us know it wasn’t pretty. She also encouraged and affirmed us. We’ve worked hard over the past few months – now we just have to pull it together.

Tonight, a week later, is our last rehearsal. We’ve been at it 4-5 hours each night all week and, as intense as it’s been, it’s paying off. The cast is doing incredible. I know my lines. My singing is improving. I’ve felt a lot more comfortable with experimenting and trying new things with my two characters, taking in feedback from other cast members and just fine-tuning the performance.

Tomorrow night is opening night. I feel the nerves. I also feel a confidence that comes from putting in the effort and from being part of a team. The guidance, the feedback, the tips, and support from the cast and crew has been invaluable and I’m excited to see it all come together.

Tomorrow night we go Into The Woods. If you’re anywhere near Liberty Lake, Washington, get your tickets and join us.

Walking Away

I’m really happy with how this week has gone. I got a lot done, made progress on multiple fronts, worked through some high stress experiences, and found more than ever to be grateful for.

One of my struggles right now is that there are so many great things going on I’m having a hard time keeping up and choosing where to invest my focus and energy. Post Status is growing fast. Our work with partners and clients is picking up momentum.

There’s also a lot going on outside of work. Into the Woods opens next week. Board meetings are coming up.

It’s the end of the week now, though, and I’m walking away. I love what I get to do and the people I get to work with. I’m looking forward to picking it all up again next week. For the rest of today, though, and tomorrow, I’m just letting it go and walking away.

Rest

I’m writing tonight from a kitchen window, overlooking the Oregon coast in an AirBnB Joslyn and I rented for the weekend. We arrived last night and enjoyed a great first day, letting Jaiden (11) pick breakfast (he chose Pigs N’Pancakes – I was skeptical, yet ended up quite pleased), then making our way over to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

We took our time about the day, wandering through parts of Newport (the “big town” nearest where we’re staying) then arriving back at the beach house in time to enjoy the sunset.

Joslyn and I both find it hard to take time off. We love achieving, the rush of getting things done, and days off sometimes feel like work as we try and figure out what to do with ourselves. Trips are nice because “what to do” ends up somewhat taking care of itself.

I’ve kept the Sabbath (Saturday) as long as I can remember. It’s a 24-hour period from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday where I don’t work. And, as a kid, it was also the time when I couldn’t do anything “fun” (a story for another time).

As an adult now, though, I’ve found keeping Sabbath to be a consistent key to high performance and to my sanity. It seems counterintuitive. I love getting things done. Why would I stop?

There’s something about stopping, though, about putting it all away and taking time to rest, to enjoy the people and world around you, that rejuvenates and brings new energy.

I’ve been won over. As a kid, it was often a bother, though I did enjoy the time we’d usually spend with friends. As an adult, I look forward to it now and am grateful to my parents for bringing it into my life.

How about you? How do you create time and space for rest?