I have realised, after two and a half years of having not tread the boards, that doing a play is a bit like having sex!
There's all the anticipation to start with, a mad panic at the end and then everyone has a cigarette!
I must point out at this juncture that I don't. Have a cigarette that is! But I do get the munchies after a show! I've kept Ritz crackers and Cathedral City Cheddar in business this week!
What I do also get, and had forgotten about, is the after show blues!
In the past these have ranged from mildly cheesed off to a teary, blubbering mess. It depends on how much I've loved the show, the part I've played and the cast I've played it with. You spend so much time with all the other people involved that you become like an extended family and certainly on show week you literally live down at the theatre with them! If you all get on and are having a laugh, with no egos to negotiate, then the Sunday morning "get out", when you go back to the theatre to dismantle the set, bleary eyed and hung over from the last night party, comes round all too soon and is all too sad.
Doing the play this week has been fantastic, with an amazing cast of people who are not only talented actors, directors, backstage and technical crew but friends as well. I've had a ball and discovered something of myself back after having the boy. Something so much more than work or any other of my interests could give me. I wasn't expecting it to mean so much.
As a teenager and into my early 20's I tried many times to get into drama school and make it as a professional actress. I was told over and over again that I had talent but lacked the right temperament for the business. I was too soft, too homely and too naive to get on in such a tough profession.
They were probably right at the time, but then I was only a kid and I can't help feeling, especially after a week like this with such positive audience reaction and glowing reviews, a wistful regret for what might have been!
At least my outlook has become more positive and realistic since becoming a mum, I haven't the time for weeping and wailing and now I'm finally grown up enough to realise that I'll see my mates again very soon and they'll be another show in the autumn.
So although these after show blues aren't of my previous hysterical standard I can't help feeling a bit lost, because they're not about what I miss but about what I was.
This week I wasn't a mum or a dull office worker or even Random Woman the writer.
This week, just for a little while, I could pretend my dreams had come true.
This week I was an actress!