I’m finally back in Nashville after a long eight weeks. These past two months were filled with laughter, dancing, singing, love, and magic. Old friendships were deepened, new ones were formed, and by the end of it all, the cast was one big happy family. Achieving the final production with the desired quality was hard work, but it was totally worth it. In our final number, one of the lyrics states: “Go on chase your dreams, you won’t regret it. Anything can happen if you let it.” That pretty much sums up the experience right there.
There’s a special bond shared by thespians. After working and practically living together for so long, everyone feels like family and it’s hard to leave. In the theater world, we call it Post Show Depression, and it’s a very real thing. Trying to adjust back into real life without all of your friends/extended family is hard. Most of the cast lives in Hopkinsville, goes to the same churches and schools, so they’ll get to see each other occasionally, even though it’s different. But some of us don’t have that option. Anna Beth went back to college, Seth and I live in different cities, so it’s almost harder on us.
As soon as the show ends, we have to strike the set and move out of the theater, which is a very sad business. If you listen, you can occasionally hear someone quietly singing their favorite song under their breath. Already, we’re making inside jokes about the show. Everyone has to stay and help, even the kids, so Matthew, the actor for Michael, quoted himself and said “But that’s not fair!” Of course, some of us immediately responded with the next line: “We didn’t say it was fair, we said it was…practically perfect,” and continued singing Mary’s solo.
Saying goodbye to our fellow castmates is the hardest. We blink away tears and try not to think about it. Some prefer to slip away quietly and avoid the emotional goodbyes, though for me that almost makes it worse. This is my third show with Campanile, but that doesn’t make it any easier. One by one our friends left, and I had to say goodbye. I manage to hold it together until I’m alone. That night I listened to Broadway music and cried; I’m pretty sure I didn’t go to sleep until 2:30.
I’ve always been a country girl at heart. Hopkinsville has become my second home, and I didn’t want to leave. Nashville in itself is not really home. Traffic is not so welcoming, the sunsets aren’t quite as spectacular, and everyone around me seems more rushed, stressed, and impatient. But it is good to be back in my own home, with my own family, sleeping in my own bed and driving on familiar roads again. It was wonderful to go back to my home church and see my friends, including the middle school girls from my cabin at summer camp. That part is still home, and in that way, I’m glad to be back.
But it will be hard to adjust, especially since I’m already looking ahead to Ukraine. So don’t mind me if I randomly burst into song, spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, look a little sad, or laugh without telling you the reason. I’m just remembering my adventure. Give me a week or two and I’ll get over the initial sadness and be myself again. Which, if you know me well, also includes Broadway songs and hysterical laughter. So you might as well get used to it, because I’ll always be a theater kid.