There is often a sense of loss when a production finishes. The ephemeral nature of theatre tends to be praised more by the people whose participation in the production is for a few short weeks, rather than the writer who has been sweating over their script for months, years perhaps. So much effort, and all for a couple of weeks. The high you feel when a production is going well, can quickly crash into despondency once it’s all over. For most writers there will inevitably be a gap before their next production, or even a sense of panic that there is nothing else lined up, a blank vista that goes on into eternity; I may never be produced again.
As much as I would love to promise you will, you will, nothing is for certain these days. If you are doing well enough to get produced now, it is likely that you will be produced again. If you have managed to write a good play before, it is likely that you will write another one in the future, no matter how devoid of inspiration you’re feeling right now.
This time around with Bike, I’ve been so busy with non-theatre, real life stuff that perhaps the high wasn’t as high as it should normally be. Too many distractions, too far to travel, rehearsals during the school holidays, illness, school applications – it’s all combined to keep me busy and stopped me from pouring all of my focus into the production. The production itself has been an easy process – the entire team have been wonderful and supportive, making it a no-brainer for me; I didn’t have to worry about what might be going on in rehearsals while I wasn’t there. Although we joked about the tap-dancing routine and the dream sequence, there was no attempt to crowbar in anything that didn’t fit, nor to shear off great chunks of text in order to more closely follow someone else’s vision. Heck, I even got to keep the interval – unheard of in a studio! It’s all been lovely. At first I was frustrated that I couldn’t give it more attention, that the stresses of real life were getting in the way, distracting me. Then I realised that actually, the production itself was the distraction from “real life,” something to just enjoy no matter how much nor how little I could be present for it. Hearing some of the amazing feedback from audiences and staff, emails from strangers telling me how much they loved it, that was the apple a day needed to pull me through the rest. So nice to hear good news once in a while. Nice is a crap word: uplifting, then.
So, no big crash this time around. Hugs all round at the final performance, a general agreement that we’d like to tour the show if possible, then walking out into the night with a good friend and a slight pang as the doors shut behind me. A gentle day at home the next day, then back into reality. An acceptance that my mind isn’t capable of delivering a masterpiece while so much else is going on – my mind isn’t really capable of producing an accurate shopping list right now. A season for all things, as the Bible has it, and inside my head it’s currently the season of small things. More blogging though, perhaps. In a small way. Little postcards from the quiet place I’m trying to create, protect, cherish at the moment. Let’s head gently towards the end of the year.