I love my job. I love teaching, showing, doing. I love building shows, and helping students build shows, and trying to give them a sense of professionalism while still having fun. I love the relationships I build with some of them. Some even become friends, of sorts. But there is one moment in almost every show that really sucks. And it sucks not only because it's unpleasant, but it sucks because no matter how many times it happens it always takes me by surprise. It's usually on the first Friday or Saturday night of the run. The show is over, everyone is ebulliently getting out of costume and makeup, just like every other rehearsal and/or performance, but then it happens. They start getting dressed again, but not in the ratty but comfortable tee shirts and sweatpants, but in nice clothes, and nice makeup, because it's not even 11:00pm, and they're going out. Of course they are. Most of them are barely 19 and they should be going out, but I'm not. I'm going home, and it's already late for me, and this realization hits me like a kick in the nuts. It drives home that as much as I think that I am friends with any of these wonderful people, I'm really not. I'm the teacher they like, they can relax with at school, joke around with in the shop, but the thought of hanging with me is not anathema to them...it's non-existent to them. Not that I want them to ask me along, because that would be awkward as Hell, it's just the voice in my head that says, "Hey, old fart! Guess where you're not going tonight." And I remember the days when I was one of the ones heading to the club or the park without the slightest thought for my teachers back in the theatre, and I know that it is the way of things, and that even if they did ask I'd politely decline, but that doesn't change the sadness and longing at being left behind. I don't have any friends my own age nearby, or at least none that I can hang with. Most of the time it doesn't bother me, but there's always that one night during each show that it sticks in my heart like a rusty spear, and I indulge in a bit of self-pity.
Sorry to be a bummer tonight.
Marius the Elder