‘The Guys’ observes Sept. 11 tragedy

 Charlton James (left) and Lesley Peterson (right) rehearse on Sept. 5. for “The Guys.”

by Andy Thigpen Life Editor

In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, there was a desperate need for human connection across the U.S.

Anne Nelson’s play “The Guys,” addresses the depth of human suffering and offers a different perspective of how human beings connect to each other in the face of tragedy.

In order to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Department of Music and Theater at UNA will present two performances of Nelson’s drama Friday, Sept. 9 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. in the GUC Performance Center.

The action of the play centers around an editor and former journalist, Joan, played by associate professor of English Lesley Peterson, and Nick, a fire captain, played by associate professor Charlton James, as they deal with the tragedy surrounding the attacks.

“This play gives deep insight into human nature,” Peterson said. “I read this play as a call for sympathy and action. It allows you the opportunity to put yourself into someone else’s shoes and realize that they are in your shoes too. They are in everyone’s shoes, because we are all connected.”

James, who was living in Harlem, N.Y. at the time of the attacks, recalls what it was like on that day, and how the play is helping him come to terms with those memories.

“I was still in bed when the first plane hit,” James said. “It was just an empty, scary feeling. New York was so quiet. You couldn’t hear anything.

“In this role, I get a glimpse into what it was like being a protector and to have everything stripped away,” James continued. “It’s very different from what Charlton experienced. It’s been really good therapy for me.”

Dr. David Ruebhausen, associate professor of theater, is directing the play.

“We’re outsiders that deep down wish we could help in someway,” he said. “This play captures what we really need. It has that direct human contact. It’s only two people reaching out to each other, and I think that lets the audience connect.”

The play will also act as a symposium. The audience will be encouraged to ask questions and talk about their own experiences with Sept. 11.

“It’s not a script you get tired of,” he said. “Every time I look at it, something new jumps out at me. It gives me a new perspective on 9/11.”