The sense of loss: the same in both theatre and sports

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I’ll never forget the feeling of standing in the tiny purple Pikesville High School Varsity locker room after my last high school lacrosse game. Despite the stink of sweat in the close quarters and the loud sounds of fourteen teenagers jabbering away, all I could feel was pain. The sense of loss was overwhelming: We had just won our championship game, but I was completely devastated.  It was over. I would never again play with Kim, Cindy and Michelle. I would never again play for Ms. Schaefer. I was retiring the number thirty three…until college, when the journey would start all over again and be even more wonderful. Yet, at that moment of complete and utter loss… I couldn’t think about the future, only the past and the friends I had made, the camaraderie I had shared and the highs and lows of the games in which I had played.

Sports is a lot like theatre…it’s simply a different vernacular. Games are Plays. Half time is Intermission. Fans are Audiences and Teammates are Cast Mates. Having just finished a run in the play Anxiety, I am truly devastated and, forgive the pun, having an anxiety based withdrawal. The show was terrific and like lacrosse, I got to play both solid offense and defense, both supporting my cast and scoring some laughs. I was rarely on the bench, in the midst of the action and helping my team towards a win by entertaining the audiences. And as I stood in the Odyssey Theatre dressing room yesterday, collecting my opening night cards and closing night flowers, I felt the same strong sense of loss as I did in the locker room those decades ago. Sure, there will be plenty of other shows…but this show, this cast, this set of rehearsals, audiences and experiences will never be the same.

Back then, I drowned my sorrows in Baskin Robbins. Now, I have wine.

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Showing 6 comments
  • Steve Julian

    I just felt a slap in the face. It’s over already? A lesson in paying closer attention to closing dates. Damn.

  • Francesca Ferrara

    Wow Colette. That is so beautiful, and I am right there with you. I literally have pieces of sets from shows that I could not let go of ! You are so right there will always be others, but as they say in the song, there will never ever be another you (Anxiety). I love you, you are our rock!

  • christine

    Wow, now that photo has new meaning: the first time it was an exciting/full of hope moment, now it makes me sad and reminds me how fast time flies. You guys did a really great show!

  • Maureen Lewis

    Colette – what a beautiful expression of love for this play and your fellow-actors. A wonderful play and for a benefit that is so important.
    Looking forward to other plays.

  • pippa hinchley

    I grew up going from school to school via various countries..I think it made me able to tune in and make friends very fast, out of necessity, and this is how it is on the first day of rehearsal, and for the duration of a play – say 3 weeks rehearsing and a 4 week run. You attune fast, you have to, if you don’t you will be lost… you may have to be the lover of someone you meet on day one, and/or convince an audience you have been intimate or married for years, even by week 3. Or you may be someone’s sister or mother.
    It’s a challenge – a great one, an exciting one – and so intense relationships are borne often in this environment – not always great ones, but, in my experience, they have nearly always been so when I have been with other performers who were equally dedicated to making it look and feel ‘right’.
    Then BAM! it’s all gone – as Colette has grieved about above – and – unless you work VERY hard to keep these crazy, new formed, super intense friendships – they go. Just like that – because the play is over, the gig is over, and we all go home…and onto other jobs in other places.
    In 25 years of professional acting I maybe have 6 or 8 people I have kept in touch with – no matter what – that I met in all those years. That isn’t to say I didn’t have great relationships and friendships along the way – but – like the kid that leaves schools and goes to new ones repeatedly – it’s hard, and a measure of real friendship, whom you can and do stay in touch with for years and years on end.
    The last play I did before coming to Los Angeles was Chapter Two by Neil Simon in Manchester. It was super ‘affecting’, in so many ways. It’s where I met my husband. The theatre burnt down in the middle of the play .. we found a way to carry on! … and I struck up a great (fiercely intense) friendship with the other actress in it and yet and yet…we didn’t do facebook then and … oh, I don’t know… oh, balls – Jennifer Jellyhorse – where are you now?!
    from the ‘memoirs of a lost actress’ xxxxx

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