So long, Sherlock


Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure closed Saturday night after eleven amazing performances.

I am sad to see it behind me. As I write this I am physically and emotionally drained, but it was worth every minute of it.

I’ve done enough shows in my life to know that there will be more.  In fact, as I was editing this, I got a notice for callbacks for casting assignments in my next show. That’s not it.  Most of the time, quite frankly, I’m happy for a show to close so that life can get back to a pretense of “normal.”

Not so much this time.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m having a hard time letting this one go.

Playing Dr. John Watson has been one of the most incredible acting experiences I’ve ever had.  It was made better by an amazing director and awesome cast mates. Working with them made me a better actor.

I am very proud of my work on this show. Perhaps more than any other project.

Sometimes in live theater there are scenes and relationships that just click.  Suddenly you’re in the moment.  The connection is almost electrifying.  That happened over and over in this show.

I love that.  I could keep doing this show for a long time.

But each show has to close.  The set has to be dismantled.  The costumes cleaned and put away.  The props returned or stored.  All so that the process can begin for the next show.

As for the critics, well, they didn’t hate us.  But they didn’t love the show either.  Some had problems with the script or the set or the language.

To respond to most of them, I borrowed one of Holmes’ lines from the show, “You really have no talent for this sort of thing, do you?”

For my part I was called both “believable as the stiff doctor” and “appropriately morose.”

I suppose when you think about it, that’s better than “he didn’t suck.”

At least they got my name right…well, actually they didn’t.  It’s a small distinction I know, but I’m Mike for stage, Michael for writing.  The confusion came, I’m certain, in my being Michael, the PR guy for the theater. I know that sounds vain, but are you really surprised to see vanity in an actor?

Again that’s still better than them saying for Michael or Mike that “he didn’t suck.”

And then I was identified as Mike Watson in our television appearance.

In my final scene in the show, I’m telling of the demise of Sherlock Holmes.  That’s no spoiler if you saw the show and if you didn’t…well, shame on you.

As I spoke sadly of the death of my friend, I wanted in the scene to at least have tears well up in my eyes.  I thought perhaps irritating the contacts would work.  It didn’t.  Truth was that by that point in the show I had been on stage so long that I was starting to dehydrate.  I even had difficulty swallowing.  So, I never managed the tear but was very very close on the final performance.  It had nothing to do with my contacts.

Now, I can’t quite type this without my screen getting a little blurry.

I know, honestly, that part of that is just because I’m tired. No, make that exhausted.  No…decimated.  Plus official side effects of the pain meds I’m on include “sadness” and a “feeling of emptiness.”  I’m pretty sure I had those covered without drugs.

Two back-to-back shows, doing the PR and publications for one (and starting another), trying to keep up with my freelance writing jobs, all on top of my regular work week.  And the shoulder.

Oh yes, the shoulder.  Things had been going quite well, but then on Friday it took a turn to the south.  I had hoped to end the show not in pain.  That didn’t happen either.

I need a nap.  Maybe two.  And a cortisone shot.  Maybe two. Then I’ll be fine.

I know in my heart that this will always be one of my favorite shows, if not the very most favorite.

I shall miss my time on Baker Street, and the wonderful people who traveled there with me.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

– A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh



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    • Lynn on November 10, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Dear Mike,

    When I got home last night I realized how intensive Sherlock had been. I was, as you say, decimated. I was and am joyous that I had this experience and all of my cast and crew to lean on, to grow with, and to share this with. I shall miss this show. I think it could have rung for a long time and remained fresh, new, and vibrant for the cast and crew and for the audience. Each night you and all the cast made it an exploration of your relationships and you always included the audience in that relationship equation which is why each night was new and fresh. Thank you.

    See you soon!

    • Rebekah Spence on November 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Dearest Michael and Mike,

    Thank you for your heart that, even in its own exhaustion and pain, still reaches out to lift up others. You have always been an encouragement to me. I love the quote from A.A. Milne; truly, it is affection for everyone which makes it hard for me to say goodbye. We certainly coalesced as a company. I treasure it. ( We few, we happy few; we band of plucked pheasants!) So I’ll tell myself not to think of anything with finality; there will simply be a pause between greetings. I am looking forward to those.


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