I had an email from a friend last night.
He had been to see the play, and loved it.
So, he asked, what happens now? Do TV/film offers pour in? Or is that it?
Well, sadly, that tends to be it. Which goes some way towards explaining the reasons why writers become a little miserable at the end of such a project. One minute, or so it seems, there you are, being taken seriously, congratulated and hugged on all sides (actors and others in the theatre are nothing if not touchy/feely) and the next you're back in the garret, all on your own, with only the PC for company, wondering what to write next. The change is instant and faintly depressing.
It isn't so bad for actors, especially if they have another project in the offing. If they're lucky, they have a little break and then they are onto the Next Big Thing. But for the writer, the sense of let-down can be intense and disturbing. You add the play to your CV. You print out any good reviews and add them, along with production pictures to your portfolio, and then ... well, you move on.
With books and stories, you at least have something to show for it all, something that still exists, something that you can look at occasionally and say 'I did that!' But even if a play is published in an anthology, there is a sense in which it still only exists as a real entity when it is in production. The words on the page are all well and good, but they need actors, director, designer and audience to animate them, to recreate them, to - essentially - turn them into a play.
It is - moreover - a dimension which is seldom properly communicated to students who study drama as a form of literature. If literature students never actually see a play in performance, then it is a little like music students spending a whole year studying Beethoven's Ninth without ever listening to the music. Something, arguably the most important thing of all, is missing!