5 Stages of Withdrawal: Closing a Show

“Trying hard to pen my feelings on closing a show like #Bunty… it’s been a week & my mind is full, but the page is still blank. #WordVomit?”

I posted that on Twitter and Facebook two weeks ago. It’s still true – I can’t translate to paper the torrent of emotions I felt immediately after Bunty Berman Presents…, my Off-Broadway debut with The New Group and my first foray into full-length musicals, closed on June 1. The cast and crew would joke backstage about how we’d all been working together so long, we couldn’t remember a time before Bunty! Plus, there was honestly never a dull moment: from injuries and last-minute replacements to technical difficulties on stage and off, we bonded over the many trials and tribulations of working on Cirque du soBunty (thank you Debargo Sanyal for coining that one!). As happens so often in this biz, our little family grew closer every time we faced a crisis; we tackled each challenge head-on, with gusto, and we had a BLAST laughing about it after the fact.

One of our biggest challenges was figuring out how to fit everyone in front of the step and repeat at the opening night party.

One of our biggest challenges was figuring out how to fit everyone in front of the step and repeat at the opening night party.

So there really is no way to describe how I feel about not seeing my show family, from whom I’ve learned so much, every day. I can’t begin to explain what it’s like to say goodbye to a character who helped me discover parts of myself I didn’t even know existed. Also there are no words for how thankful my body is to not have to sing and dance in high heels anymore (or at least, for the time being). I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster. I admit I cried, but I was also numb (literally – I felt pain in muscles I didn’t even know I had!), bored (what do I do with myself and all this free time?!), frustrated (especially after finally reading the reviews), and giddy (especially after finally reading the reviews).

It all boiled down to this, my 5 Stages of Withdrawal:

  1. Exhaustion
  2. Relief
  3. Depression
  4. Pride
  5. Gratitude

Rinse and repeat.

For those of you who love numbers, check out this graphic from the Wall Street Journal! My personal rundown for Shambervi includes 4 cans of static guard, 5 tubes of glossy pink lip gloss, and 21 fancy bindis.

Anyone want more numbers? Check out this graphic from the Wall Street Journal. My personal rundown for Shambervi includes 4 cans of static guard, 5 tubes of glossy pink lip gloss, and 21 fancy bindis.

All my life I have only known one way to combat the energy-sucking, procrastination-inducing effects of withdrawal and the inevitable ennui that comes with it: WORK.

I threw myself into work – any kind of work – immediately after we closed. Okay, well, technically I threw myself into all kinds of work two days after we closed; I needed those 48 hours to catch up on sleep and generally do nothing but lounge in my beanbag chair with my cat and watch bad TV. But then – work. I’m a lucky lady because my calender has been filling up with opportunities; doors I’ve been trying to open for a long time have been cracked and are now ajar.

In the past few weeks I have:

IMG-20130615-00006

Note the giant bags under our eyes – we were in Minneapolis for less than 24 hours.

  • traveled to the beautiful Vassar College campus for a few days to do a staged reading of Rachel Bonds‘ Swimmers with New York Stage and Film‘s Powerhouse Theater, directed by Portia Krieger.
Thank you Rachel for writing a character who stress-eats Reese's Pieces, and thank you Portia for breaking the "no props" rule to let me actually eat them during the reading! Sometimes my job is so hard ;-p

Thank you Rachel for writing a character who stress-eats Reese’s Pieces, and thank you Portia for breaking the “no props” rule to let me actually eat them during the reading!

Aren’t we just the most adorable little brown family?

Plus, next week I’ll be traveling to the Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, CT to do a week-long workshop and staged reading of Lauren Yee‘s Samsara as part of the National Playwrights Conference! AKA working on a fanTAStic play on the beach. Life is hard. 🙂

So. I suppose the symptoms of withdrawal are ebbing. Working on Bunty Berman Presents… was a crazypants adventure like nothing I’ve ever done before.

Crazier than deciding that sure, I could TOTALLY step into my mom’s shoes and cook Thanksgiving dinner from scratch for 25+ people. (This is how I improvised brining the turkey…)

The experience, with all its ups and downs, is a part of me now; I feel like I’ve grown and learned and changed because of it. I guess that means the mourning period is officially over because it’s not like the experience can ever really be GONE. Life can now return to whatever normal it can be in this crazy business.

Until the next show.

Posted in News
2 comments on “5 Stages of Withdrawal: Closing a Show
  1. Adrienne says:

    Simply marvelous, Lips! And yes, I AM seeing the growth. So proud of you and excited for your journey.

  2. lipica says:

    Thank you, my love! I’m beyond excited 🙂

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