You’ve just finished the final performance of a show. The cast was fantastic, the run was incredible – basically, it was one of the most memorable times of your life. And, for several months, it was your life.
But now you’ve got the blues. The Post-Show Blues.
Kind of like a hangover (and even worse when combined with a hangover) that lingers … until the next show or project takes away the emptiness.
Maybe you obsessively quote lines and song lyrics, or stare at your suddenly blank calendar. Maybe you have a tendency to start every sentence with “One time, at rehearsal …”
It sounds like a made-up thing to those who haven’t experienced it, but it’s very real, and most drama devotees experience it at some time or another.
Urban Dictionary describes says the feeling is “bittersweet” and “only really understood by fellow theatre dorks”.
“The feeling after a musical is over and you realize you have no life. After putting months into making a show perfect it is all over. It is a feeling of emptiness and sadness … It can continue from then till weeks or months after the show’s finished. You get little pangs when you see something that reminds you of the musical or when you’re sitting at home on a night when you would usually be performing or rehearsing. This depression is generally shared by most of the cast, and the last show and cast party generally involves a lot of hugging, crying and beautiful parting words … When you run into one of your show family after this depression it usually involves a lot of hugging and crying and comes back for another couple of days. The only way to fully recover is to go head on into another project and remember all the good memories.”
So, what do you do to get past the Post-Show Blues? And what are your symptoms?
We asked our theatre friends to get the conversation started. Getting straight onto another project was a popular suggestion:
“Get straight onto your next theatrical project!” – Carole Dhu
“Fill the void with the next project!” – Anthony Smith
“Audition for another show.” – Ben Small
“Audition for End of the Rainbow.” – Brad Tudor
Watching something entirely different cropped up:
“We check out Koorliny’s website to see what the next show is, and then buy our tickets to get our fix … as an audience member of course!” – Jacqui McGarrity
“Watch cat videos.” – Lucy Dee
Letting the feelings out also got votes:
“It involves a lot of crying.” – Alex Thorburn
“Or inflicting dance numbers from the show on unsuspecting cast mates.” – Ellis R Kinnear
And there’s always one who goes for denial (“It hasn’t really finished …”):
“I’m finding that denial is a good coping mechanism. There’s a McDonald’s ad on TV right now with the song “We Built This City”, and every time it comes on I just close my eyes and pretend Rock Of Ages is still on whilst I try my best to hold back the flood of tears that surely must be coming soon.” – Jonathan Curran
And while these are good suggestions from those in the know, here are a couple more that might work:
- Give yourself a break – relax a little and let your body catch up after weeks of busy-ness, plastered-on make-up, adrenaline rushes, and more.
- Rejuvenate – it’s common to get sick after a show because you’ve been pushing yourself hard. Eat healthy food, drink lots of water, and get extra sleep.
- Catch up – with real life (all the chores and things that fell to the wayside) and with friends and family (try to talk about something other than missing the show).
- Reflect – did you learn anything new?
- Do something creative to remember the experience – use your photos to create a collage or video so the memories go on. Here are some examples of videos made by Katie E Williams for Rock of Ages and Murder on the Nile.
What else would you add?