The End of the Run

Lorene Cary
3 min readMar 18, 2024


Ladysitting’s cast, l.-r.: Monet Debose, David Ingram, Melanye Finister, TONY Award winner Trezana Beverley, Brian Anthony Wilson. Photo by Wide Eyed Studios.

One week ago my play, Ladysitting, closed at Arden Theatre in Philadelphia. I was in Mexico with family on a trip we planned almost a year ago, because who knew the play that had just been schedule to run until February 25th would be extended — twice — through Spring Break at UPenn, until March 10th?

I left the beach and went to my room a little before the play was to begin back home on Second Street above Market. Sent an email to the company, explaining my absence. Our sound designer, Jairous Parker, had been kind enough to make a Ladysitting playlist from the affecting slices of music he and director Zuhairah McGill chose to weave through the piece. I hyperlinked it, as if the sound might connect through this attempt to capture a thumbnail of my gratitude. But how could anything begin to let them know my appreciation? A first production, as Arden’s founding artistic director Terry Nolen says, brings the play into being. It’s astonishing how many functions have to go spectacularly well to pull it off, from the beginning commission to the curtain call at the closing performance.

With my eyes closed, I could see the stage go dark. The five actors would find their places; the lights would come up to illuminate their faces, smiling, their own again, not the characters’; and the curtain call music would begin.

I texted director Zuhairah McGill, thinking she’d be in the theater, but reached her at home. She’d returned after St. Patty’s Day parade street closures had blocked her from crossing Market Street. Fortunately, earlier that weekend she’d already been to see the show and hug cast crew members she’d rehearsed and choreographed and worked with almost every day for a month before Opening Night in January. Together with the actors, designers, and crew, they’d made this thing shine!

I wanted to see them at it again, one more once. Like Nana at 101 this production was ending its life, a longer-than-expected life, but I didn’t want it to end without a chance to say good-bye…

Dramatic? Yes, surely. A theatrical production is not a person. But people perform and people attend. We tell people’s stories because stories capture meaning of our lives that brim with fear and loss and joy. So the production, like us, has a life.

I stayed in my room until Stage Manager Alec Ferrell sent out the day’s Performance Report, the last one, precise, as always, neither harsh nor hyperbolic. If a step needs repairing or an actor needs a new lipstick, he notes it. I learned that because Brian Anthony Wilson had another contract to fulfill, Eric Mills, who teaches at UArts, stepped in — somehow! — to play the Angel of Life and Death. Because of the parade-traffic late seating, Alec wrote, was a “constant stream,” 23 out of 115 there in the small theater. But with all that, it was, wrote Alec, “a solid final performance” and “great final scene.”

Some people cry at the end of Ladysitting. This time, I did.

Bravi, y’all.