Dear Rita…

20 Sep


This is the last day we get to hang out. 

…Which is weird, cuz somehow I feel like you’ve always been there…inside me…waiting to be born. But since you have been fleshed out in full human form, you can’t just go back to “that place” anymore.  You’ve come too far for that. 

The last day of performing a bucket-list role, like you, changes so many things.  Forever.  The fact I once had you, in my grasp…someone I have wanted to meet for all of my artistic life, it’s like spending three months with your favorite celebrity or a rock star, on the road.  You get not only this fucking FANTASTIC high and joy of being in their direct presence and learning from them, but you also get to know them on a personal level.  You learn their little isms and irks and habits and sense of humor…and they become MORE than just your “idol”…they become a mentor, a friend, a part of your family.  I know things about you that no one does, because you’ve trusted me enough to tell me.  And the same truths have been granted to you, from MY inner-most parts.

…What I’m saying is, sometimes a role isn’t just a role.  A character isn’t a “character.”  You’ve looked up to them too long. You’ve built a career goal around one day not only meeting them, but getting to spend that time on the road of discovery with them, side-by-side.  And bucket-lists being what they are: that unlimited dream-list of desire, with zero editing with all your biggest wishes and dreams…getting the opportunity to actually touch, let alone embrace a role off that list is Lotto-breaking odds for actors.  It’s our pinnicle.  It’s all the reasons we became actors to begin with.  It’s what we strive to better ourselves for…to one day, maybe, somehow, get a chance to say, “I’ve always wanted to do that part, and now: I am.”

…Course what they don’t tell you ’bout all this is that even (on the giant odds) that you DO get to work with a giant desire role like you, there is always that sinking-gut realization that in a specified amount of time: it will all end.  The dress will turn back to rags, the coach to a pumpkin, and the horses to little white mice.  I may have (by utterly astonishing odds) got to go to the ball after all, but the ball will end…at the stroke of midnight.

…And that’s where I’m at today. It is 11:55 and I know I only get one more dance…one more whirl around the floor, one more moment to be in this costume, with this hair, the monster you-shoes clonking around under me. I get one more time to spend with all those 26 monologues, which tell the story of who you are, where you come from…to share your simple wisdoms, and get frustrated with your mountainous journey “to know…everything.”

It isn’t just the loss of a placeholder on a list somewhere. It is so, so, so very much more than that. It’s sense of accomplishment, yes…but it’s also putting to bed, a hope and dream…it’s achieving an Everest climb that you’ve wanted and trained for (in some ways) all of your artistic life. And it’s done now. There are other mountains to climb, of course, but not this one. Not anymore.

Dearest Rita, it has been a voraciously joyous pleasure to finally meet you…to join in your groupie crowd, study by your side, talk literature and politics and hair extensions with you. It’s been wonderful to get to know your heart and how strong your spirit is, despite the self doubts. You are, in many ways, so much smarter than I am…you see things in ways that so trump the over-complicated that it is like watching someone win a game of chess in two moves, flat. I love your acceptance of the past, your hope in the future, your humor and wonder and wit. I understand your bad days and frustrations…I’ve seen you at your worst, as you have seen me. But we’ve also been there for the best bits too. And they surpassed everything I loved and THOUGHT I knew about you, which put you on the “list of people I wanted to meet most in my career,” to begin with.

…You are so much more.

You’re a good teacher.

Today, I have to say goodbye to you, and we’ve only just started. I don’t want to let you go. Cuz now that I really know you, I get that it’s not just crossing a name off a list tonight. It’s losing a friend…and as anyone whose done that knows, it leaves one hell of a hole behind.

…So what say, we meet after the show and cry into a whiskey or two…my treat?


(And super grateful)


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