Well, the musical is over, and it was a huge success. Emily loved it every bit as much as I expected her too, and more. She’s definitely a natural actress, and her voice noticeably improved with all the practice & training. She has caught the theater bug, without a doubt.
On Saturday, after the cast party between the afternoon & evening shows, the director called the parents aside and talked to us about a phenomenon called Post-Show Depression. Basically, post-show depression happens because you spend a ton of time (almost all of your time) together with these people – other actors, directors, musicians, stage crew – you’re together nearly every day, for long hours, for months. And then suddenly, you’re not.
And the time you spend with these folks is an emotional one – you have to open yourself up to act –to get into character, so the people involved for an intense bond. I’ve experienced it myself, and I knew that Emily, being the heart-on-her-sleeve-type like me, would probably go through it too. But I was unprepared for how fast it happened and especially unprepared for the intensity of it.
Every show, I got a little teary (between the already somewhat teary/uplifting theme of the show, gorgeous music, and yes, uncontainable pride in my girl, it was inevitable), and Sunday – being the last show – I was feeling a bit more emotional, because I knew she would be sad that it was ending (and honestly, I was a little sad, too. I really enjoyed the experience, even from a spectator’s position).
So after the curtain calls, while they sang the lovely finale song, I was fighting back tears. And then I looked up and saw Emily trying her best to do the same. She was singing her heart out & the dam broke – she was full-on crying. By the time we caught up with her backstage, she was sobbing (as were some other folks – both children and adults). She went around hugging everyone (particularly her “stage family” – a college senior father, high school mother and younger brother, all of whom she absolutely adored), and we went to dinner with a big group of family members.
By the time we got to the restaurant, she had calmed down and she was able to enjoy her celebration. But once we got home, without all the noise and activity of the big family, away from the music and lights and mayhem, she just…broke.
She cried and cried. She grieved for the “family” and friends she would never see again (there’s a good chance she will see some of them again next year – though not her “father,” who she loved the most and is graduating this weekend). She lamented how she hated when she went back up to the stage and they were already breaking down the set (after all, it was practically her “home” since October). She told me again and again how she would miss them, miss the show, miss every single minute of her experience. There wasn’t a thing I could do for her, but lay with her in bed & hold her until she fell asleep, hours later.
Yesterday, she stayed home from school, because she was so exhausted. She cried a little on and off, but it got better as the day went on. And today, she’s pretty much back to normal, with just a bit of sadness that’s just under the surface that will turn into a good (and maybe a teeny bit bittersweet) memory. And today, when she was telling a family friend about the show and about how sad she got when it was over, the friend asked if it was a good thing – if it was worth getting sad over and her response was a resounding yes. She can’t wait to do it all again.