It can be very lonely being the director.
Once the show is open, your job is done and you don’t feel needed anymore. You miss out on all the backstage fun, shenanigans in the dressing room, headset chatter, inside jokes, etc. It’s a very strange feeling because you’ve been so involved for so long and now you aren’t part of the final execution.
Sometimes you can even get filled with great anxiety over the performance itself. If something goes wrong, you are powerless to help. When the lights flickered due to dimmer patch problems in my production of Gondoliers, I was quite stressed and couldn’t sit still in the audience as I was desperate to help the show in some way. You really shouldn’t be trying to help anymore as your people should be completely equipped to deal with any problem, but that doesn’t change how you feel when you are helpless in the audience. You always wonder if you did enough for them and if you could have done more – and if so, what?
Of course, there’s the insecurity as the show progresses with regards to the work itself. Is it good? Will it hit the mark? Is it rich enough?
Perhaps that’s why I feel so compelled to attend most, if not all, of the performances of my show. Maybe I’ll get more confident as I progress. We shall see. Til then, I’ll sit in the audience and imagine what I’m missing behind the scenes.