Post Show Blues

They are real!  You might just think your diva is being a little over-dramatic when she closes a show and won't get out of bed for 48 hours but actually she's feeling depressed and needs your support.
I can practically hear you all rolling your eyes.  Look, I know it sounds ridiculous.  Your child only met these fellow performers two months ago!  She will most likely see them again in the next production.  What is the big deal?!  Let me try to explain.
Think about the best times of your life.  The summers spent at camp with friends you never saw the rest of the year.  A really great job where you received accolades for your hard work and felt incredibly proud of what you contributed.  Your wedding, surrounded by all of your friends and family, looking stunning and feeling on top of the world.  These emotional highs are the best I can come up with to explain the incredible feelings these young performers experience while in a production and it helps to explain why they are often sad when their show closes and they come down from this high.
Actors are asked to do impossible things.  We ask them to become other people, be completely authentic and honest in make believe circumstances, and they have to place their trust in relative strangers to do so.  For young actors in particular, this takes a great deal of effort.  They are being stretched beyond their emotional capabilities and that can take its toll!
Plus, there are often late nights, insufficient sleep, brutally challenging dance numbers, the rush of nightly adrenaline and the crash that follows.  Their little bodies have been pushed and pushed for weeks and when that final show closes, they will feel sorrow that can seem too intense for the circumstances.
The Post Show Blues can manifest itself as tears, so many tears, often hysterical and terrifying tears that lead many a Diva Mom and Dad to question whether their child can handle this theatre business if they are going to break down this way at the end of every production.  Don't worry - they WILL break down but they CAN handle it.  The tears happen because they're grieving.  Theatre by its nature is fleeting.  The production is mounted and performed and then destroyed.  Watching their beloved set demolished at strike can be heart wrenching for some.  They grieve the loss of their character.  This character that they have known and loved and might never play again is gone and our young actors feel this as a loss.  They poured their blood, sweat, and tears into a show and when it's gone, they have very little tangible evidence to show for it.  This can be unnerving and lead to the strong desire to throw themselves into the next production.  Which is, of course, a way to deal with the loss of this one.
If you see that your child is sad or lethargic after the closing of a show, don't fret!  There are things you can do to cheer them up!  
1. Acknowledge their feelings.  Let them know you understand why they are sad.  Resist the urge to dismiss their feelings.  Try not to remind them that children are starving in Africa so they should appreciate what they have.  Let them cry and be sad for a bit.
2. Show them photos and videos of their performance if you were able to get some.  Remind them that all of their hard work paid off and let them see the evidence. 
3. Let them sleep.  Avoid the impulse to distract them with a movie or a shopping trip.  Give them awhile to mourn their loss and catch up on sleep. Distraction will come in the weeks following the closing of a show but the first 48 hours after the show closes, they need to sleep.
4. Encourage them to keep in touch with their new friends.  Plan a playdate or sleepover with some of the kids from the cast for the following weekend so they know these friendships can exist outside the theatre.
5. Listen to their favorite Broadway Cast Recordings or expose them to some of your favorites.  With the free time you have now that rehearsals are over, go see a live performance in your area or look for a new class that your child can take in their downtime.
Above all, be kind to your kids after their show closes.  Give them hugs and snuggles.  And ice cream.  And a puppy.  Okay, truthfully your kids told to me say that last one.  I don't actually think they need a puppy.  But they are really feeling sad and could use a little tenderness from their family.  
And remember, you get to do this all over again after the next show.
DREAM BIG,
Stephanie