Metaphorically, that is. Yesterday afternoon, the show closed in Hagerstown.
Historically, my blog entry about the final show is less about the particulars of the show, and more about the fact that it is over. More of a look back. This one will be no exception, though I will say I felt almost as good about my performance as I did on Saturday. About 90% to that level, I would say. So I got to close on the second best performance I gave.
I found the worry bead, but stuck with the washer for the performance though.
This production, as I have said, seemed quite fast all things considered, though once we got to performing it seems a little slower in some ways. When I think that opening night was a mere ten days ago it's a little hard to fathom. It got fast at the end though for a different reason. There was no strike. I had been preparing to help strike the set and clean the entire theater after the curtain come down, but much to my surprise I was told that other than picking up out personal property, the cast had not striking responsibilities. This is the only company that I have been a part of that does business like that. It actually felt weird to leave the building the last time with the set still in tact. (It will be taken down later in the week.)
The cast party was also a short and sweet affair. I have been to some cast parties that lasted hours. This one was just under 90 minutes. But fun. We gave fake awards to each other, mocked each other, and congratulated each other. We even played "Heaven Can Wait" trivia, which was fun, though I only got one right. No matter. It was the show that was the thing.
Most shows improve a bit the second weekend when compared to the first, but I think Heaven Can Wait was one of the most obvious examples of this trend. The four shows on the second weekend were worlds above the three shows of opening weekend.
Which is one reason why, in the end, I have opted not to address the sensitive issues I mentioned a few days ago here on the blog. I realize that I said I would after the show was over, but by and large the issues, both from a personal and a professional standpoint were corrected. I of course would have preferred that they never happened at all, and I maintain the did not have to. But I cannot in good conscience mention the issues when so much energy was put into correcting them, eventually. So I will just leave it at this: I am relieved and gratified to know we got passed them, even if we did so too late for my tastes. That business is well concluded.
As for other things, this final show was strange for a few reasons. To begin with, as I have said a million times before here, my last exit from the show is (was...) a good 20 minutes before the final curtain. My final line was just over a half an hour before same. So I had more time to gear down, and come in for a landing with the realization that it was all over. I spend most of that time picking up my trash from the green room, getting a head start on what I thought would be strike.
Sometimes when the end of a show comes, you feel that you have done exactly what you set out to do, and that makes it easier to accept its ending. I put Heaven Can Wait in that category. I came off stage the last time knowing that I had put everything into "Tony" that I possibly could have done. I was satisfied with the overall improvement that was obvious in the entire cast in a short amount of time. And I enjoyed most of the crowds that we had. I felt it was a good place to conclude. I agree that it would have been nice to have a third weekend, because we were all just starting to hit a stride with things as it closed. But I do not regret what happened.
More importantly perhaps even than the show, was the fact that I not only introduced myself to a whole new company, (which I plan to be involved in plenty of times again in the future), but I made new friends. That doesn't always happen in a show, especially with someone as difficult to get to know and understand as I tend to be at first approach. I feel good about having a few more theatre people in my life now.
Plus, there is plenty of time to get to know some of these people more. In the past I tried to say a million things in my "final" cast email, (which I sent last night), but now I realize, in the age of Facebook, we can all take our time and get to know each other gradually. Not just by being in shows again together, (which I am sure will happen in the future), but outside of theatre as well. I've never been part of a new company in the Facebook era before...so hopefully it will help me keep in touch with some of these great actors and people now that the show is over.
So, to those involved in the show that may be reading this, once again, thank you. I will see you soon. On or off stage. I'm glad I auditioned.