No longer live from the national theatre

Photo by Mark Barnett

On Friday I suffered a mild, but nevertheless unexpected attack of ‘post-show blues’. The affliction is widely acknowledged; after a period working intensely with a group of people on show the euphoria of the last night’s performance is often followed by aching induced by the show’s sudden absence and a sense of bereavement brought on by no longer being part of that closely bonded team.

I thought I had developed a cast-iron immunity as the stress of overlapping projects inoculates against the absence and full time colleagues and a loving family mask bereavement. However, travelling back from Leicester following the third and final performance of Live From The National Theatre I couldn’t quash a sense of the blues mixed with a certain melancholic satisfaction of a challenging mission accomplished.

The devising process had been quite stressful as right up until the last minute it was unclear whether the cast were going to gain enough focus and confidence to pull their show together. It was very touching to see how nervous many of the cast grew as the performances loomed. It was equally touching them to greet friends and family before and after the performances but what set this show apart from previous student shows we have worked on was that it came right at the end of their final year. For some students this was their last day and the show their last act at university*. In this context it was little wonder that emotions were running high.

As the cast called for a whole group photograph it was satisfying to recognise that we weren’t part of the group but had facilitated the group developing this euphoric sense of conclusion to their studies.

Graduating confronts most newly birthed ex-students with an intimidating and bewildering series of questions and options as to what happens next in their lives. Keenly empathising with this agoraphobia added to my sense of compassionate affection for the team. Watching east midlands dissolve into west though the train window I fell to speculating what would become of these engaging young people. I wish them well.

* This statement perturbed lecturers who have vivas booked with the students next week!

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