Well, here we are. This weekend marks the final two performances of Summer Mummers. Our 66th year is almost in the books.
If you ask the people at Summer Mummers how they feel about the show closing up shop for nine months, you'll mainly get two answers; "ready" and "not ready." Sure, there will be some in-betweeners, but most people fall into one of those two categories. On the one hand, it's nice to have more time to travel, do normal "weekend" things, and work on other projects. At the same time, it does create an absence in our lives. The first weekend after Summer Mummers closes, we find ourselves sitting at home on a Friday night, trying to remember what we did with our weekends four months ago. We end up calling friends to hang out. Of course, it's the same friends who we just performed with a mere six days before.
Isn't that weird? We just spent four months together, sharing dressing rooms, sharing stories, and sharing half-price beers. We should be absolutely sick of each other. But theatre, and Summer Mummers specifically, has a way of creating a bond between people. We sympathize with the rehearsal schedule. We understand the carny-like jargon used in our stories. In a way, we like hanging out with us, because we understand us. In no way is it exclusive, or cult-like, or "us" versus "them." It's like a security blanket. A big, sweaty, slightly buzzed security blanket.
With such a large group of people, cliques will inevitably develop. These people usually go to this persons house, these people try to catch a late-night meal at a 24-hour eatery, these people go to bed and hang out in the morning. The lovely thing is that there exists no animosity between cliques. It's not the Sharks against the Jets against the Partridge Family against the NRA. Anybody can hang out with anybody, because we've all worked hard to create this experience for 28 nights out of the summer. For those four months, we're like a plate at a buffet. The food may touch each other, but it's OK, but sometimes it's good to eat your bacon with a little bit of syrup on it.
Thousands of people have walked through our front door this year, appreciative of the 3+ hour show that we put on. But believe me, we are just as appreciative of you. And not in that "he's saying that because he wants to seem like a nice guy" way. Truly appreciative. When we've had a rough week, the audience makes it better. When we worry about trivial things like "this makes me look fat," "my nose looks too big," or "I need to hit the gym," the audience makes us realize that our worth outweighs our insecurities. Our audience, at times, is our best friend. Our best friend whose hair we have to hold back every now and then, but that's what friends are for, right?
People come and go. There are many who I haven't seen since they said goodbye at the closing night party. There are some who are self-proclaimed "lifers." Me? Who knows? Tomorrow night, I'll pack my bag, turn off the makeup lights, and head out to the car. I don't know how long I'll do this. I don't know if I'll be here next year. But I'm here now. That's all a guy can ask for.