Stage One: Infatuation
You see your play from across your crowded bookshelf/audition/rehearsal room. It looks okay. Actually, it looks more than okay. It suddenly looks pretty good. Why didn’t you ever see it before? Did Your Play just wink at you? This could be interesting…
Stage Two: Dating
You decide to go to a few rehearsals with Your Play. It’s as interesting as you thought. There’s that line you keep repeating in your head. There’s that stage direction that is just so…dare you say it? Sexy. The characters are like real people…but more interesting. More daring. More well-spoken. You decide to hang around with Your Play as much and as long as possible. Life is…dare you say it? Good. So good.
Stage Three: Head Over Heels
Is it possible that Your Play represents your whole life? Or maybe it is more meaningful than your actual life? Or maybe that your life and Your Play have become one and the same? What did you ever do before Your Play came into your life? What will you do if it ever leaves you? (Spoiler alert: you’re going to leave it, even if it never fully leaves you.)
Stage Four: Fully Committed
You’ll sacrifice anything for Your Play. You’ll go to any lengths of physical discomfort or mental strain to accommodate the requirements of Your Play. You spend all day with like-minded people. It’s not a cult, exactly, but it’s not not a cult. No matter—it is you and you are it and you are falling and have fallen and are so deep you can’t see the sky anymore. If this isn’t love, what is?
Stage Five: It’s Over
It’s so sudden. This is all expected, in a way, but also impossible. You are breaking up with Your Play. Friend, it is over. Have a good cry, have a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, have a good, fresh look at your life. You have to go now. There will be other plays, ones you’ll love just as much, maybe more. But the grief is deep and real and true. Your Play is in your very cells now, marking a place and a time and a community in a way nothing else will. Pick up the shards of your shattered heart and hold them close. You have loved, and one day you’ll love again.