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Closure, or lack thereof

The act of closing a show is a difficult one. On a scripted show, you know that you’ll never be able to recreate these experiences. Sets are destroyed, scripts and rights reverted to their owners, and the carefully memorized knowledge just… disappears.

If you’ve ever read or seen Steven King’s “Langoliers”, I liken the sensation of a final performance to the images painted in that story – a race of creatures that go through the past, consuming the leftovers of time once humans have moved through it. During a final performance, I can almost feel the Langoliers eating lines out of the air as I deliver them for the last time. My brain knows they’re not needed, so quickly they’re erased to make room for something else. (Music sticks with me longer than words do.) It’s a creepy, bittersweet feeling.

But on the other hand, at least you can’t sit a few weeks later, feeling as if you could do something to get that feeling back. When a scripted show is done, it’s done. Not so with improv. “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (my Star Trek improv project) has closed – and even if we weren’t intending to bring it back, all we’d need is a stage and the costumes from storage to recreate the experience. That doesn’t seem like such a stretch. It’s harder to let go of improv shows since you have almost everything you need within you at any moment.

I still feel as if I could easily pick back up with my favorite past improv shows, like Wallflowers (and we did pick that one up a year later) or Reality World (actually, we picked that one up again too). At times, my desire to do so can be overwhelming. For now, I look forward to our discussions of remounting “Where No Man Has Gone Before” – it was very successful with half of our performances standing-room-only sold out with no marketing spend except a few small flyers.

Oh yes. We will return from shore leave; we just need time to rest and a stage to play on. It won’t last forever; nothing does. An improvised Trek group in NYC just finished their own “5-year mission”. If ours lasted 5 years I’d be delighted, but some of us will move on regardless. For now, I feel nostalgic and a bit short, since I’m not wearing 4-inch platform boots with a tall beehive hairdo. But it was an amazing experience. 😉

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