The day has arrived. After a days-long agonizing wait for the cast list, it’s finally been posted. You sprint toward it, let your eyes scan over the page, and finally let them rest on…what’s that? Your name.

me

And you’re completely taken aback. You thought your audition was awful. You were sure that the director was convinced that you weren’t right for the part. BUT YOU WERE.

I'm still in shock. I'm going to my room to think about what just happened.

god is real

And all of a sudden, the following realization (along with a rush of adrenaline) hits you: For the next six weeks, you’re going to working with a fabulous cast on a wonderful production.

exciteed2

let's do this

If this isn’t your first show with the company, you’re seeing this as an opportunity to take some of the younger cast members under your wing. You’ll be leading them through warm-ups, helping them run lines, and teaching them everything you know.

I feel old

And then the day everyone’s been waiting for finally rolls around: read-throughs, where at long last, you can get your hands on a hard copy of your very own script, and really start playing with your character.

oh yeah2

read-through

read-through2

You’ll be hitting the script and working to get off-book as fast as you possibly can, staying up late into the night until falling asleep with your script on your pillow becomes a regular occurrence.

books

And then you’re thrown head first into constant rehearsals. You work to master your lines…

rehearsing

rehearsing2

…your blocking…

rehearsing3

…and any other character work that will give you an edge.

rehearsing4

You scramble to put together your stage makeup, costume, and props. Piece by piece, your character comes together before your eyes, and hiding your excitement becomes completely impossible.

sutton smile

And before you know it, it’s opening night. And not soon after that, you realize that you’ve closed. You’ve just wrapped a fantastic run, and you’re totally psyched. You remembered all your lines. Your blocking was perfection. You did, in fact, stick the landing. And so did your castmates. You’re on top of the world.

celebration

cheers

But all of a sudden, your excitement begins to waver, and you get that sneaking feeling that something isn’t right. Maybe it started during bows. Or maybe during your last warm up with the cast. Or during your final dress rehearsal. Either way, you’re feeling it, and you know what it means: your show is over. Really finished. Done for good.

I don't want to go

But c’mon, you’re an actor! You have supreme control over your emotions–it’s your job. This doesn’t phase you in the slightest.

I'm bulletproof

Besides, the end of a show’s run means freedom! New possibilities! Endless opportunity! You’re not the least bit upset–

disapppointed

Okay, you’re still just the teensiest bit bummed. Not close to crying or anything like that. That’d be pathetic. No, you’re just in a little emotional rough patch, that’s all.

liarr

You quickly realize that your rough patch is rougher than expected. You’ve got that funny feeling in your throat, and you can feel the tears welling up, but you’re not going to cry. You’re not going to cry. You are not going to cry.  You are a strong, independent cast member who don’t need no–AAAND here come the tears.

crying

rain crying

sobbing

ice cream

All your fun cast memories come flooding back to you, and after improving your mood for a few moments, you realize that they’re all over, and you can’t get them back. You’re never going to play your character ever again. You’ll never work with the exact same cast you’ve grown to love. It’s all…gone.

sob

single tear

it's all falling apart

You eventually pull yourself together and move on with your week, but you still feel horrible days later. It’s like your trapped underneath an overhanging cloud of gloominess from which you can’t escape.

i wake up and im empty. I have nothing

And of course, any non-theatre person will be taken aback by your glum disposition following what they thought was a great show. I can almost guarantee you that some jerk will say, “There’s no reason for you to be upset. I mean, honestly. Boo-hoo you miss your little theatre friends. Just get over it.”

glare

And to them I say, “Think waiting for the next season of Sherlock is hard? Try waiting for your next production.”

i know hiatus

Because the fact is, you do miss your castmates. You miss your director. You miss your assistant director and your stage manager. You miss your rehearsal space and your costume and your character and your pre-show rituals and you miss, well, everything.

oh dear! what ever will i do

In fact, you’re feeling so down in the dumps that if you took a picture of yourself right now, you’d look something like Zachary Quinto in this situation:

grumpy zq

…which I’m telling you right now, is totally fine. Absolutely fine. One-hundred-fifty percent fine. You have my permission to wallow in your post-production misery for the next week if you want to. Break out the dessert and the takeout and feel free to stuff your face if it makes you feel better.

treat yo self

pizza fixes everything

But why am I telling you that binging on Ben & Jerry’s is acceptable? Well, as the brilliant and wise Tom Hiddleston says,

compassion for a character

And grief for a character (or for the end of a show’s run) is an equally real feeling. Don’t beat yourself up about it–it’s normal. But how can you get yourself back to your preferred normal (i.e. not weepy, frustrated, and subsisting solely on boxes of Ferrero Rocher truffles)?

GET SOME SLEEP. Be honest with yourself: you’re drained. Performing night after night is an exhausting exercise, especially when you’re doing it in addition to seven classes a day. You never really recovered after hell–, um, I mean, tech week, and you know you haven’t gotten over four hours of sleep a night since. So get the rest and relaxation you deserve after all your hard work.

yes to love yes to life yes to staying in more

i like sweatpants and staying home

sweatpants

And just because your show’s run is complete doesn’t mean you can’t still show your castmates a little love now and again. Make sure that you stay in touch with them. Meet up for coffee, dinner, bowling, a game of Cards Against Humanity–whatever it takes you to keep in contact.

I love you all passionately

big hug

If there are no theatre-centric projects for you to tackle, maybe the universe is telling you to use your extra time to really bring your A-game in your classes. Apply the time and dedication you commit to your drama work and apply it to your studies. Who knows? As a student, you might go from this:

i got nothing

I'm going to type every word I know

To this:

a+

But what’s the best-known cure for the post production blues? I’ll let Sir Patrick Stewart let you in on that little secret (he is, after all, endlessly more qualified than I am):

acting

Throwing yourself into a new project will completely take your mind off your misery. You’ll be so busy memorizing new lines, experimenting with new characters and blocking, and hunting down new costumes and props that you won’t have time to be blue. No auditions around? Try working on honing another skill that will help you in future productions. You could take dance classes…

dance gif

…or voice lessons…

singing

(Note that singing in the shower à-la-Emma Stone does not constitute voice lessons, though it is super fun.)

shower singing

…or even focus on your accent work. Anything to keep your head in the game.

accent

And now for some parting good news: post-production blues don’t last forever. In a few week’s time, you’ll be back on your feet and feeling a million times better.

it gets better

promise2



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the author

Elizabeth Watson (just call her Beth) is a senior at an itty-bitty private Catholic high school in Virginia. In addition to writing for The Prospect, she writes and performs sketch comedy with her improv troupe, rehearses like mad for school theatre productions, suits up for forensics competitions, and writes poetry for her school’s literary magazine. A brief rundown of Beth’s favorite people and things ever to exist in no particular order: hole-in-the-wall bookshops, sweaters, Jane Eyre, peppermint tea (in a Troy and Abed mug, of course), Broadway musicals, British period dramas, Neil Patrick Harris, and Hugh Jackman. Beth’s long-term goal in life to is to become Julie Andrews, but for now she’s focusing on surviving the final stretch of high school and getting into college–hopefully as an English major

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