And that was the perfect end to the run of Friends Like These. 4 gunshots, blackout and curtain. I hope they took it all in, I hope they remember what they created on that stage. It certainly was the definition of the magic of live theatre.
I woke up this morning feeling very sad. It took me a few moments to determine why my glorious Saturday morning of sleeping in was being interrupted with sadness and then all of sudden it came rushing back to me. Tonight would be the end. The true night of lasts, the last time I'd have to go to Carl's Jr to pick up prop food, the last night Sari would cover her hair in lotion and draw in some of the thickest eyebrows I've ever seen. The last night that I would bring Ryan his preset hanger at the end of the show, the last night we'd use the slurpee cups that 7-11 refused to give us for free, the list goes on and on. It truly was a night of lasts.
The sadness, the desire to not move on is particularly strong for me. I've been with other shows that I've loved, but usually when a show ends I'm ready for the end. It feels like it's run its course and it's time to say goodbye. This one is different, it's not done, and I'm not ready to say goodbye. Not to the play, and especially not to this cast. They are such a unique yet cohesive group. True professionals, anyone working in theatre, television or film would be lucky to cast any of these six amazing actors.
We didn't actually say goodbye to each other. The plan is to go to Hollywood Fringe in June and hopefully New York fringe in August. With those plans in our heads, it is a bit easier to walk away for now. If I had actually said goodbye tonight I think it would have been something like this, "As a stage manager you hope for a cast as talented, professional and nice as all of you are. I will miss your smiles, and your hugs, I'll miss seeing you each weekend and most of all I'll miss watching you perform. When I called you to tell you we'd like to offer you a role in this show I had no idea we were putting together such an amazing group of people. We were truly blessed to find all of you, thank you for making my job incredible easy." I could go on, I could embarrass each one of them by telling them how incredible they are and how much each of them contributed to the production. I won't, I think they know, at least I hope they do!
So for now, the book holding Friends Like These has not been closed, it has merely been bookmarked. It will be set aside for a while, but like all favorite books, we'll rediscover it again in the near future, dust it off, re-read it and fall in love with it all over again.
Thank you Matthew Scott, Ryan J, Sari, Sarah, Alex, Jacob, Vance, Sean and Greg for letting me be a part of this fantastic journey.