There comes a time in every persons life when it’s necessary to say goodbye. With friends, with family, to a job, a negative influence on your life – it can be anything, and it doesn’t even necessarily have to be anything negative. It could come down just to timing.
It is not always the same level of intimacy between casts, even if some carryover from past productions or who have worked together previously. I have seen multiple sets of casts with various levels of connections – I’ve often wondered if it’s centered to the content of the show, personality of the individual cast and staff members, or a combination of the two (or something completely different). At opening night of The 1940s Radio Hour, almost the entire cast of The Laramie Project came out to support a several production staff members and a cast mate.
The time spent on a production creates a familial atmosphere. You trade inside jokes, share tips of the trade, assist with learning lines and blocking… it’s all a part of building an effective team amongst one another. Almost always, you have effectively built a family with former strangers. Why is especially hard for actors, directors, and production staff to say farewell to their comrades? It’s most likely a combination of things – (most definitely) the drama of the stage, the rise of emotions during pivotal interactions, the (almost) incessant repetition of scenes and lines, including the initial conceptual development between staff and cast.
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
-A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
I know that I have not always been unhappy to say good bye to a production, mainly because the music can begin to wear down on your soul, but there are always moments following a closing night where I miss the individuals with whom I’ve shared a stage. I’ll leave you with this song, something that kept me from crying last week when I last said good bye, ’til next time.