Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Curtain Falls.

I just finished acting in another play. It was a production of the classic American comedy, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. The show was a hit on Broadway when it was first written nearly 80 years ago and for a time it was the longest running show on the Great White Way. I don't know if there's been a revival or not, but the show has since gone on to be produced quite often by college and community theatre groups. The show is really funny with just the right mix of sight gags, one-line zingers, intellectual humor, and physical comedy. However, I think the main reason that the show is such a favorite is because, as our director quite rightly pointed out, it's all about family. Some of us are lucky and have great families. But, I think for those of us who don't there is still something within us that longs for a family like the Sycamore clan.

Speaking of families, I've acted in more than thirty different full-length plays (not including ones I've helped with, directed, etc.). I've only had a few occasions where I was very much glad the show was over. Usually, the close of a show is bittersweet with just the perfect balance of "glad to be done" and "sadness that the group of people I've worked with for the past 6-9 weeks will now be parted forever." However, every once in awhile I've been involved in a show that when the last curtain has fallen and the set has been struck I'm left feeling very sad and more than a little depressed. YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU was one of those. The cast was a very eclectic mix of individuals, but in this show that is all about family, we became a family. The past couple months have been rough for me and this particular theatre family (probably unbeknownst to most of them) was a surrogate support group for me. I looked forward to rehearsals and to the time we spent together. I had old friendships strengthened and made some new ones. Rehearsals were a joy and an incredible amount of fun.

And now, it's over. Most of the people in the show are friends of mine and I know I will see them again, but there are a few that I may not. And even if I do and even if we are able to all work together again in another show or by some miracle the same show, we'll never all be together again as we were. The fellowship is forever broken and it cannot be rebuilt no matter how hard we wish or try.

It seems that most of us have grown accustomed to this. We grow close to people and then for one reason or the another they leave. People move away. They die. We get in arguments and hold grudges. And when it happens we move on and tell ourselves, "That's life." Yet, deep down inside we know that's at least a little white lie because even though it is the nature of things and the way of the world and this life, we know that it's not how things are supposed to be. When God created the world, he didn't intend for us to experience fellowship and community and then have it ripped away. We might be accustomed to it and even expect it, but it's not the way things are supposed to be.

Therefore, I say without any shame that, even now, I miss the YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU clan. They helped me through a difficult period of time, provided me with countless hours of laughter, and gave me lots of memories that I will treasure in my heart. When things get difficult again and the days are dark, I will look back and take some of the light from those things to help me keep pressing on.

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