In some ways, the closing of The Song of the Nightingale actually signifies a re-opening for me. For the past six weeks, I've been able to let the show be. The story has lived through the talents of the actors, stage manager, crew and staff. Even if I've had ideas or received suggestions on how to change the show moving forward, I've been able to stow those thoughts in a box marked "Do not open until December" in my mind. There is a sense in which, for this particular production, my role in the show already reached its completion on opening night, October 11th, 2013.
With the 22nd show complete (Can you believe it? The show has been performed 22 times!), there sits inside my gut a quiet sense of triumph and relief. The response to the show was so enthusiastically positive, with many of the Altarena patrons saying it was the best show they have seen in that venue. I'm sure for several folks the show was not their cup of tea, but I am happy to know that the work resonated with or entertained a good number of our audience members.
I have described working on this production of Nightingale as akin to opening a time capsule. There is in Nightingale a sort of unabashed optimism which, while not altogether foreign to my current outlook, has been tested and transformed since the show's conception. Revisiting that optimism brought me to the question: Do I still believe in the message of the show? Do I still believe that anyone can change for the better? Do I still think that such changes in the individual will make the world better?
My answer is "yes." It is, perhaps, tempered by a more grounded view of the world; not everything can be solved by having a "cozy, imperial chat," like the characters do so easily in the story. And yet, I do think hope and naivete, in the best possible sense, go hand-in-hand. To believe that things can get better, even if a great deal of evidence indicates the likelihood of the opposite, requires a sort of child-likeness. I think that's why I'll always love fairy-tales. Through their magic, they ask us to believe like a child, and simultaneously compel us toward deeper meaning in our adult lives.
It feels trite or incomplete to say that I'm happy or sad or even simply "emotional" about the closing of Nightingale. The show contains a piece of my own spirit, and, for a moment, that piece had its chance to reveal itself to others. The moment is now a memory. And all those feelings you get when any significant event transitions into becoming a memory - that is what I am feeling with the close of Nightingale.