Adirondack Regional Theatre Produces 9/11 Play To Benefit Regional First Responders
Three months after the September 11th, 2001 attacks, a play premiered in New York City. Written by Anne Nelson, the two-person play dramatizes a fictional New York City fire captain seeking help from a writer to help eulogize the men he lost when the towers collapsed. Twenty years later, productions of “The Guys” are being performed across the country. In New York’s North Country the Adirondack Regional Theatre is staging the play to benefit regional first responders.
“I don’t know what to do," says Fire Captain Nick, in The Guys. "The call came and they went off and we haven’t found them yet. You know, what can I, what can I tell the families? What am going to say?"
Joan asks, "How many did you say there are?"
"Eight men. I lost eight men.”
In the Adirondack Regional Theatre Production actor Jim Calnon portrays Fire Captain Nick who turns to writer Joan, played by Lee Ann Thomas, for help writing the eulogies. Thomas says while the people are fictional the emotions are intense.
“They are very vivid and real in the way he creates them for us. There are still times when I get absorbed as Jim is sharing in character his interactions and his memories of The Guys and I feel like I’ve met them and I’ve lost them.”
“You know Barney he was a, he was a metal worker. He could do anything with metal," Nick chuckles. "And he had this sense of humor. You know I mean it it it it just rose out of him and took you along you know? But somehow he did, he just you know, kept us all in stitches.”
Calnon is the former mayor of Plattsburgh:
“First of all the script is very good. It does a very good job of guiding you. But I know a lot of first responders from here for example who are real people with real lives and they’re more than just their uniform or they’re more than just whatever they did last night. And I think that’s an important thing for us to remember. You know that as one of Lee Ann’s lines says, and I’ll paraphrase it, we’re talking about ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things.”
Calnon says the play is still relevant and important 20 years after 9/11.
“There’s a generation that only knows this from a history book. They don’t have the emotional connection to this that we do. They don’t understand the real horror of a terrorist attack like that and I think we need to remember those things.”
“Part of the focus of this show," says Lee Ann, "is honoring those who are serving right now and supporting those who would make this important decision to serve others even at their own risk.”
The Adirondack Regional Theatre received grants and sponsorships that paid for the cost of production so all box office donations are being given to regional first responders and nonprofits. Director Tom Lavin:
“We’re just trying to do our part. Trying to let our local heroes benefit and also to be able to really honor the people that aren’t here anymore because of what happened twenty years ago,: Lavin says. "We are donating anything at the box office that we get but if somebody can’t make the show and they want to make a donation they can find us on Facebook or they can find us on the internet. Send us the money and we’ll forward it off to local responders. The big thing is these two bring their characters to life. You know there’s a helmet and there’s a shield. But there’s a person behind that and those stories get told. Bring ‘em home.”
The Adirondack Regional Theatre continues its performances this week. On September 11th they will be joined by the Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir at the Hartman Theater on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus.
Readings and performances of the play are occurring across the region by various companies including The Schenectady Civic Players.