And the play is over.
Striking the set of a play is always a strangely emotional exercise — like tearing down the house you grew up in. Though a set is really just an artifice built to house the illusion of theatre, it’s also the place where you became a part of the company of actors and crew that you’ve spent the last weeks or months with. These people are your adopted family for that time… you work beside them, go out together after rehearsals, confide in them… and then you come together with power drills and crowbars and crescent wrenches to tear it all apart. And, though you always hope that you’ll see everyone again, it never works out that way. There are people you might never see again, people that might never get into another play. On the other hand, there are people you’re destined to live, work, and play with — though you hardly suspect it at the time.
The first time i struck a set at Drexel it didn’t seem like such a big deal. I didn’t know what it really meant; it was just artifice, just an illusion. Months later i helped strike Hair… tearing up the floor panels and repainting walls. It was then that it hit me — that we were really destroying our home as a family, and it would never physically exist again. Seeing the stage bare black tonight i just wanted to go back to the bare kitchen and parlor we had been living in and around all week. Back to the magic that came with it. But, before that feeling could even crystallize we were all downstairs, merrily chowing away on our deli spread, laughing about the mistakes we had made and whispering about the auditions that await us in nine short days.
Even if all nine of our cast, all four of our running crew, and all six of our booth crew wound up involved in the next production, it couldn’t be the same. The energy we had as a family was dissipated as we rollered flat black over the vibrant colors we had painted onto the floor barely a week before. Hugs goodbye were long and meaningful, even though some of us see each other in class every day; it wasn’t really a goodbye to each other, but a goodbye to the place where we had become as one.
Nine days until i stand alone on that same flat black stage and open my mouth wide enough for all to hear. Nine more days until our next surrogate clan begins to form.
I’m not sure if i just want to sit here and rest, or not set foot back in my room until then.