It’s now the aftermath of the show, and I don’t know where I stand. I got caught up in this huge whirlwind of a show that grew into more than myself or any of the actors. We carried the burden/honor of Matthew Shepard’s story, sharing it with around eighty people a night for two weeks. Our hearts broke and we cried and hugged each other. We acted silly to shake of the heaviness of a story we have retold a dozen times. We simultaneously wanted it to be over and yearned for it never to end. But it has ended, and where are we now?
The cast has this incredible bond now. It’s almost alive between us, and when we pass each other on the quad or somehow meet up in groups, it reignites and my heart swells a little. But I, at least, am graduating soon. I will always care for the people here, the people I have come to love, but I have to leave them. I know I have to go off into the world, and that I can carry my little Laramie spark into new situations and share it with new people, but I fear I am not ready. Not in the way that I am scared of getting a job or filing taxes. Just that I am not ready to leave the people behind. I shared this sentiment on the night of our last class: I am ready to let The Laramie Project take off on its own like a firefly into the night, but the people I want to keep in a tight hold on. It’s silly to think that we could ever stay exactly the same as when we were spending many hours a night together performing and acting silly, but I will hold on to this nostalgia for a while. I guess I am changed. I am a little more open-minded and a lot closer with people I didn’t know well a few months ago.
I hope the audience is changed too, even if we were only able to plant the seeds of it. I think an audience member got it right when he told me, “We didn’t just see a show… that was an experience.” He puts words to something I had been thinking about for a while. ‘Show’ for me has certain connotations. It is entertainment at its core. An experience, however… now that can change people. I think we did. I just hope the effects are long lasting. But that is out of our hands now.