Yes, parents and spouses... it's real! And it's called Post-Show Depression (or PSD).
What is it?
The feeling after a show is finished it's run. After putting months into rehearsals and throwing all your energy into doing your very best, the show run ends. It's somewhat like birthing a child. The actors have poured their heart and souls into a project for months. It's is born, it lives and then it's over.
Your performers may experience feelings of emptiness and sadness. This sometimes starts during intermission of the final show. It can continue for weeks after the production is finished. Although most performers welcome their free time and evenings back from rehearsal time, there still is a pang of sadness. This depression is shared by all of the cast and the last show generally involves a lot of hugging, and tender parting words.
How can you help?
Post show blues is only really understood by fellow performers. Their castmates are their theatre family. However, plan a fresh air activity. Go out and feel the sunshine, or watch some movies, or try a new recipe. Celebrate the show with a dinner out.
Will they get over this?
The only way to recover is to dive into another production. Actors will understand post show blues and they will be grateful for the process and the experience they shared with others. After some time they will realize that performing is ephemeral. They will be grateful for the opportunity, and should try to look forward to the next adventure on stage!
Cherish the time you spend on the stage. Life goes by quickly. Be happy in the moment for all the opportunities life presents (click to tweet this). You will never again be with this cast in this production with this creative team ever again, so soak it all up. But there will be new projects and new excitement again soon. Look forward with grace.