Review: UNA Theatre provides “touching” tribute for 9/11

The theatre department brought the community together in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and I had the opportunity to attend the final showing of “The Guys” Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.

“The Guys” is a play about two people in New York trying to recover after the events of 9/11. One was directly involved whereas the other was a bystander.

I entered George S. Lindsey Theatre with a heavy heart, knowing this performance would tug at my heartstrings, and I was correct. It was incredibly moving and told the story of a few unsung heroes.

Associate theatre professor Charlton James played Nick, a fire captain in New York City who lost several of his men during the attack. He now has to tell their stories through the eulogies at each of their services. Unable to translate his grief into words, he turns to associate English professor Lesley Peterson’s character, Joan.

Joan is an editor from Oklahoma who chased her dream all the way to The Big Apple. She wanted to help with the recovery efforts, but was unsure how until Nick’s situation presented itself.

Together, the two discussed the details of each fallen fireman — their character, their hobbies and the things that made them who they were. Joan crafted a unique eulogy for each, including Nick’s best friend, Patrick. Nick described Patrick as a family man with his priorities straight. As they collaborated on this particular eulogy, I became increasingly saddened because so many people lost their best friends, their spouses and their family that day 15 years ago.

Nick and Joan bonded through their grief, and the process was so touching. They cried and remembered the deceased firemen through each story Nick told and through each eulogy Joan wrote. They were complete strangers who had nothing in common but the city they called home. However, after the tragedy, they and the rest of New York City were one.

Overall, James and Peterson did an excellent job portraying the grief many have experienced because of this significant day in history.

I left the theatre Sunday afternoon with misty eyes, but I was grateful to have experienced this phenomenal performance. For me, it served as a reminder of the people 9/11 affected. It reminded me of the things I take for granted on a daily basis. It reminded me to hold my loved ones close.

This touching play is an example of how we, as Americans, can pull together in the face of adversity.

I admire the men and women who are willing to lay everything on the line and save others, and UNA’s theatre did a great job paying tribute.