Closing day. This has been the fastest full run of 21 DOG YEARS so far--even at the Speakeasy we played for over 4 months, and I have to say that while I am emotionally ready to put the show to bed, part of me is grieving. It's so wonderful to know a piece right down to its core, to have built it and beaten it and suffered with it until it can live itself fully...there's even a pleasure in knowing its flaws and shortcomings, in feeling the areas that have never come quite right, that could have been something more or something else.
It's routine, above all else--performance is routine. I get to the theater the same amount of time before the show every day, I repeat the same series of actions before the play begins, I warm-up the same way, I have the same conversations--I make a conscious effort to ritualize the event, because that is somehow part of it. And it's always hard when it ends--I always get depressed, always, and the more fully realized the run has been, the deeper the depression becomes. I miss the audiences--not in a facile, needy way, but because every night I get to communicate with them, and we get to know each other, and in that communion I've seen things I could have never seen anywhere else. Life without that compression and ritual doesn't seem much like life at all, for a while.
At the same time this is all thankfully complicated by THE UGLY AMERICAN. A new show, my first full-length new show in three years...I am edgy, and anxious, and very, very excited. We've sold a lot of tickets, which has been a greatest gift in a trip filled with generosity from the people of Seattle--over 300 and still rising. It's a workshop, which means we have no sound, no staging and I will simply tell the story...but ironically it is lights and sound and trappings that often help cover and disguise weakness, when you don't quite know the right words. I'll be naked out there tomorrow, profoundly naked, as I create the show the first time for a public audience, and it feels like the day before a battle all over the house--it's quiet, JM is leaving me alone and I am thinking and thinking and thinking about how this is going to go down.
One step at a time. First we close DOG YEARS, then we open the next show. I need to have some breakfast, get my game face on. There isn't time to think about the new show today. I will do my job, close this book and then open the next one, and God willing it will come out clear.