This post will probably be a little kumbaya. Those who have toured may or may not feel a warm little glow. (You've been warned).
We opened this weekend to a full house - hallelujah! What a gratifying night. It felt surreal, and not in the way that most opening nights do. At least in my world, opening night is a mad dash to the finish line (or maybe just with certain shows), and opening night is such a relief that it's like that final stretch of a long run and then the gasping, exhilarating rush of endorphins afterward. I compare it to sports, but there's really nothing like it because it's all that - spiritually. And there's nothing like a spiritual endorphin rush. Some people get it from running.
Some people get it ...a little at a time. Seeing people come out in costume. Watching the audience go quiet when the lights dim. I get it, a little, when I hear the first big laugh. No - when the lights come up. And those are my friends and family down there (from where I sit, in the booth), no matter how I feel about them on a given day. My team. I get a little rush when I know the audience thinks something is beautiful - or sad. A lot of the times I'm surprised (as I was this Saturday) by laughter. Then I remember the first time I saw it in rehearsal, and I laughed too. After I watched it again and again it grew old (sorry, but it did), whatever the moment was. Then the audience makes it new - like taking a friend around your own town. You see the buildings and the quirky people and majestic scenery all new.
A little rush.
We had a big party after opening and everyone wore red! A swirl of champagne, wine, flashing cameras and the occasional spin on the dance floor. You have to have that in some form on an opening night. I can see how many people in the arts slip toward excess (but that's not what this post is about). Because the rush from the show is pleasurable, but it doesn't take away the nerves and the stress from before. It transforms it into something else - something that needs just as much to be sloughed off and let go of (like any high?)
So we dance and drink and then sleep most of the next sunny morning away. But I walked down the hallway in the hotel room and I realized how many of the rooms in the hotel were ours. I could have knocked on any door and seen a friendly face - my family.
There's a little something special about tour, that feeling of knowing your people, your family are all tucked safe away, and you know where they are - and the next day you're all going to head out and do that beautiful show again.