Last night was the closing show, strike, and subsequent cast party for Claudie Hukill, the play for which I have been the assistant-director since Christmas time. The production, not without it flaws and obstacles, ended up having a very good run. Now that it is over, there is a bit of a noticeable void, as always when a show ends. (It happens to directors too you know!)
Yet the end of this show has a particular aspect to it. I have been going to the same theatre several days a week, every week since August. Beginning with A Thurber Carnival, the exploits of which I will not get into here again. Go back through my archive to get up to speed on that if you weren't following me then.
The read through for A Christmas Carol was on the same evening as the pick-up rehearsal for Thurber, so there was no gap between those two shows. Claudie Hukill auditions were on the same day as one of the final performances of A Christmas Carol, and so there was no gap there either. In other words, when the previous two shows ended, I had something else theatrical to jump into right away. In the very same building. The void was still there, but in a sense it was more like one continuous loop. Striking one show, only to rehearse the next show on the same stage a day later. Remnants of the strike of one would be clearly visible during the next.
Without checking my records, I cannot with certainty state that I have never done three consecutive shows before. But I do not believe that I have. Furthermore even if I have, I can guarantee that they were never this close together before. All three being in the same venue enhances this notion that I have in a way been involved in one big theatre endeavor over the last half a year.
When you do a show anywhere, there comes a time when it becomes in a sense like a second home. For a few hours, anyway. Each person tends to put their stuff in the same places. Use the bathrooms at the same time. You know where the quiet spots are, if any. You get used to the climate settings. You begin to move about the place in your dailiy evening ritual with the familiarity and comfort of if not your own home, at least the home of a family member. The rules may be different there, but you hit that groove. And that's just for six weeks of a show. Now multiply that by six months and three shows, and you get the idea.
I will of course return to that place many times. I will see shows there, and be in them. Perhaps even direct one at some point. But each time I come back to venue after a break, it feels a tad different. The longer the break, the more different it feels, even if the venue itself hasn't changed that much. Until of course I am there again for six weeks and it feels like that second home again. Even when I am in a show again, I wonder if ever there will be another solid six month stretch at one venue like this again. Certainly not for the foreseeable future.But such is the way of the community player.
For the first time in a long while, I don't have the slightest idea what my next theatre project will be. There are no auditions lined up right now that interest me. And it is probably just as well. After half a year, I think I should take a months long break from the stage. At least until summer, when something else may show up. I need to spend those months catching up on that other talent of mine, writing.
But do not stay away, loyal blog readers. Some of that writing will be right here on Always Off Book. I am taking a break from doing theatre for a few months. Not taking a break from writing and talking about it!
And so it goes.