It was such a weird experience. There were times I didn’t know why I was there. Moments came by and left with ease, like a happy memory. Almost as if I had been there before. It was something I already knew. Familiar chords in a song I had already played before. I knew it by heart. But it was just a bit different.
I recently performed a show I had the blessings to do twice before. A show I helped workshop in the mountains of Denver, years ago. A show I knew well and love. I got to do this show again, after almost 2 years of closing it out to a roaring standing ovation and encore. When I left it, I was full. It was done. I was happy.
The memorized lines, the rhythms of the costume changes, the music, was gone. Nothing was coming and nothing was happening. I started to wonder if it ever happened at all. Because quarantine will do that to you. It will make you feel like everything ‘out there’, was just a fantasy. A foggy daydream in an imagined hope. It seemed like the final curtain had fallen and the lights turned out.
Then, the phone call.
I was cooking dinner when it came. I think it was some kind of pasta. I have Caller ID, so I knew who it was before I answered. But I thought it had to be a mistake. I answered, it wasn’t. It was who my phone said it was. A friend with a familiar voice and an offer, that wasn’t yet an offer. Because there were things to work out. But he was serious, and asked if I was seriously interested. It was difficult to not shout, ‘HELLS YEAH!’. Although I think I might have anyway. When we hung up, after the promise of a getting a drink together, I continued making dinner. In quarantine. In the same apartment. Only now, something changed. The realization that what happened almost 2 years ago actually happened. I was there. And now, they wanted to do it again. I wanted to do it again.
It’s a weird experience, rehearsing a show with so very familiar people during a pandemic. There is distance and masks and tests and a bit of fear. But there’s also the feeling that, we’ve been here before. We know what to do. We still know how to do this. It’s okay to be there. It’s right.
Then, the audiences.
They came. With masks and face shields and picnic baskets and wine. They sat outside in the Southern California Summer air and we all, for the first time in a very long time, breathed together. The lights were on, the Stage Manager called ‘Places’. We were all backstage in our costumes remembering the last time we were together. Grateful for the chance to be together again. Even during the most difficult and challenging time in our lives. Because now, there was joy and laughter and fully-vaccinated hugs and new memories.
Then, the music was back.