Coming to the end of a show’s run is an incredibly emotional experience. You’ve put hours and hours of work into a project that, in the end, has ceased to exist. Yes, you have the memories you’ve created and the friendships you’ve grown, and maybe some mementos (backstage photos, posters with autographs from the cast and crew, show shirts, etc.). But the creation process of a show is truly intangible. It’s not like painting a picture and then having the finished canvas to display, or creating a musical composition and having sheet music to share with other musicians. You’ve created an experience. Once the show is complete, the costumes are put away, the set is stripped, and you’re left with an empty theatre and a group of students who have post-show blues.
Whether you’ve completed an extracurricular production or a classroom show project, it is important to take a step back and reflect on the process. This is an important step of the process because it provides closure–the final steps of your theatrical journey!
Reflecting on your experience lets you re-visit your successes and failures, your areas for improvement, and what you’ve learned. It can also help you look towards the future–what worked really well and what you would do differently next time.
The following series of questions can help you and your students reflect on your experiences and process of the show. Be sure to focus on YOUR experiences and process. While things like selling out a show and positive reviews are great things to celebrate, they aren’t something you have control over. Go deeper and focus on your journey–where you started and where the process has taken you.
The purpose of these questions is for you and your students to reflect on the process of the show, but feel free to adapt them for weekly logbooks or journal entries, as well!
- Think back to your audition. How did you feel after you finished? Were you satisfied with your performance? Why or why not?
- Think back to when you found out you were cast into the show and/or when you found out what role you’d be playing. Did the results match your expectations? Were you happy with your role? Why or why not?
- Think back to the first rehearsal. What was the atmosphere like? Did you know everyone in the cast? What did you do in that first rehearsal?
- Think back to a time during rehearsal when you had that “breakthrough” or “ah-ha!” moment, when something just clicked and fell into place and things made sense. What was going on in rehearsal? What triggered that moment? How did you feel at that point?
- Think about the experience of tech and dress rehearsals. How did they compare to other shows you’ve worked on? What was different?
- Think back to just before opening night. How did you feel? What was the energy like?
- Think back to just before closing night. How did you feel? What was different between opening night and closing night?
- Name one personal success you had during the process of the show. What will you take from that moment?
- Name one failure you had during the process of the show. What did you learn from that moment?
- What will you keep doing for the next show you participate in? What will you do differently?
- Name one thing you learned during the process of the show.
- Name one memory from this show that will stick with you forever.
Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer, and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. Check out her blog at www.kerryhishon.com.