Look I made a hat,
Where there never was a hat.
Closing night of Brighton Beach Memoirs approaches. The show will be closed by the time you read this. It will be a happy time for me as I can’t wait to get back home after a six week absence. But it will also be sad because I love the show and the people with whom I’m working.
Here are a few thoughts on how I like to approach closing night of a show.
Celebrate the Impermanence
It’s sad to leave a show behind. What separates theatre from most other art forms is the absolute impermanence of it all. What we share with the audience can never be replicated. Leaving a show behind is part of that impermanence, part of the process.
Make it Your Greatest Hits Show
Shows grow and evolve over a run. You try things. Some work, some don’t. Use the last show to pull together everything that worked. Think of the performance as an answer to the question, “What have we learned?”
Reflect on the Journey
When we first met six weeks ago only two of us had ever met before. Now we’re a tight-knit family onstage and off. Theatre has an amazing ability to do this. Reflect on how far you’ve all come, separately and as a team.
Do the Show You Rehearsed
Save the pranks for backstage. Respect the playwright, the director, and the audience who have paid to see the same show you performed on opening night.
You worked hard. Enjoy it. Enjoy your favourite moments in the show. Enjoy coming to the end of your least favourite moments. Enjoy being with your fellow performers. Enjoy the great privilege of getting to make theatre.
Thank everyone you see at the theatre – from the board ops to the volunteers, to the front of house staff to the girl who cleans the washrooms. They toil in the darkness while you get the applause. You wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for them.