I tried to starting gathering my thoughts about a week ago. Yet somehow I still find myself unable to verbalize everything I want to say about what these last few months have meant to me. For a while that bugged me and I kept putting it off in the hope that I would somehow discover the right words to say that would inevitably move you, my dear reader, to what I would like to think would be tears of the genuine sort, that stemmed from my well-fashioned realizations. But that’s not what I’ve come here to say.
In all seriousness, I am someone who is terrible with goodbyes. Absolutely dreaded military life but when the day came to turn in my uniform, I found myself scheming about how I could keep them and somehow deceive the armed forces bureau into believing that the articles of clothing had somehow become victim to unprovoked theft. Playing Aaron Kreifels to becoming Aaron Kreifels. Watching an event to discovering every unfolding instance of it. Words cannot do justice to the maturation of this play and to my maturation as a person – and to some extent, as an actor.
This was the first real production I had ever been in and my god if this is what every theater production is like – then god have mercy because I know the stage won’t. Coming to college this was never a class or an activity that I would have ever have imagined involving myself in. This was a complete matter of chance and I don’t think I have been more fortunate in a long time.
You know, when the final performance ended and we walked on stage and there was a standing ovation, I remember thinking, Wow. Not because I was in awe of our success or the response we got but instead, I felt an incredible feeling of ecstatic relief. We had a story to tell. This was a story that had to be told. And it was. Wow. Now what?
Laramie was a noun, a definition a sign. As we were taking down the set (the first time I had ever done that), I remember thinking, man, this is just heartless. I was clinging onto something that was, in a matter of minutes, going to be no more. That was when it hit me – what we had done was not in the stage or in the costumes or even in the performance. It was in us. It is now in the people who came to watch. Ephemeral as the stage was, it served its purpose. Like all things in life, this too came to pass. I had to suck it up and realize that it was what it was. An incredible experience that I appreciated and will always carry with me.
So with the final props taken down and the set completely undone, we proceeded to take our leave. I knew that I would be seeing everyone again that Wednesday. Still, once I made sure no one was looking, I turned around surreptitiously, and in the distance I could see the sparkling lights of Laramie, Wyoming.
Thank you for everything.