The jig is up; there will be no more terrorizing of the train from St. Louis to Kansas City. The Jones Gang has officially been shelved with the last performance.
I’m (almost) always saddened by the ending of a show. And even with 50 or so different shows under my belt, I’m never sure just why I’m sorry to see them go. Part of it is certainly the loss of someone(s) you’ve gotten close to. That may sound strange to non-actors, but it’s true. The characters we play start to live a life of their own, especially in long-running shows. If they didn’t, the show wouldn’t be very good. After a while, you start to see the world through their eyes–not just the parts of the world that intersect the show, but circumstances on the streets, and with other people. Unless you’re crazy, these characters are certainly a separate thing from your own life, but it still feels like losing a bit of yourself when it’s time for them to go. I suppose most of that is habit, but over the years I’ve found that habit is a powerful part of our lives.
The other thing that strikes me about losing a show is the fact that we should be used to it. We know it’s going to happen, and in most cases we know exactly when it’s going to happen. It is our job as actors to always seek the next project, the next story to tell. In fact, it is often the best thing about acting, the start of a new show. It’s exciting to explore new feelings, new stories, new people. This is, perhaps, the best remedy for losing the previous feelings, stories, and people–the excitement of creating something new.
In my experience that still doesn’t stop the momentary sense of loss every time I bury another character. It’s nice to know that they live on in us and in those that saw them, but for a day or two, I wish they’d still take the time to speak to us every day.
Goodbye Obie Jones. May you and your brothers ride forever; you were certainly the nicest train robbers in history.