Up until a few days ago, I was humming a song from Ragtime almost every waking second of the day (and probably in my sleep as well). But now, suddenly having found 15 extra hours in my week just in time for finals, I’m left with this sense that what we did was just so cool. No other way to put it really. No matter how seriously I’ve taken my academic work and other endeavors until now, never before have 4000 people come to see something that I worked on. It’s strange to think that of all the hundreds of people I pass on campus every day, a large percentage of them came to see Ragtime and now know have a memory of a project I contributed to.
I imagine it’s a lot different to be an actor on stage – you’re someone who sees the applause you receive after every show, and you’re the face that people recognize and congratulate you on your way to class on a job well done. But it’s different when you’re not a character in the show and not a recognizable face – maybe better even – because the main goal can’t be recognition and approval from other people. Your sense of accomplishment can’t entirely ride on how many people are in the audience, partially because you can’t even see how many people are in the audience. You come to rehearsal and put in more time than is expected because this is something you care about and have developed a sense of pride for in the best possible way.
At the end of the last show of Company, the first show I had a directing role in, I bawled my eyes out. And I never cry. But it was because I was so proud of the people on the stage that had become like my little babies throughout the whole process of the show. It was almost the feeling of an extremely proud mother at her child’s graduation. I didn’t cry during the last scenes of Ragtime because the clarinet I was playing would have started squeaking more than usual, but I felt the same exact way. I had that feeling where you know exactly why you put so much time into this – because you’re so proud of those people on stage grinning back at the audience through their final chord and how you have been able to help them get to where they are now.