Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hole in the Sky

I should be asleep.  Austen, is finally asleep...but I did not feel I should end today without remember 9/11.  Today is the Eleventh anniversary of that horrific day.  Today I want to remember an incredible cast and crew.  During my short stint at BYU-Idaho, I had a dear friend who encouraged me to audition for a play.  The play would be based on 9.11.
We went together.  The audition had a few stages.  You go into the room and talk with the director, and writer.  They asked questions about where you were on 9/11.  What you remembered.  What you felt.  They took your picture. They took your resume.  Then we all met back in the auditorium for improv.  I was blown away by these amazing people and how quickly they thought on their feet.  I knew I was way out of my leauge.  Little fish, Massive Ocean.  However, I managed to make call backs set 1. More improv.  Then, I found out that I was offered the role of a daughter of a victim, who dies in the towers.  The script was amazing.  There were rewrites up to the day of opening.  The cast was the most talented group of people; I to this day cannot believe I was chosen to work with them.  We had synergy.  We had love.  We were a family.  The show ran for weeks.  I am so grateful for the director, Brother Bidwell, for having the courage to take on the project in the newness of the tragedy.  To Reed McColm, writer of the show--you captured humanity in your characters.  You helped us all to grieve the loss of our nation's invulnerability. This show won the 2002 AML Award for Drama

The terrorism of 2001 has played so largely in the public mind that any dramatic enactment of those events might seem redundant or maudlin. And yet the BYU-Idaho production of Hole in the Sky by Reed McColm (directed by John Bidwell) invited its audience into a space in which our fears could be transformed into compassion. Though the audience was re-paralyzed by pyrotechnics that too well suggested all the deafening chaos of those final minutes in the World Trade Center, McColm's characters, fictional and realistic composites of the actual victims, achieved both individual and combined humanity. At the play's conclusion, as the words and images of leaders, both national and Mormon, mingled with the dust and broken girders of the falling building, instead of a curtain call and customary applause, an elegiac silence of several minutes' length punctuated the catharsis--a fitting tribute to the play's fitting tribute to this sobering event. McColm's play was movingly redemptive, and the production was extended to accommodate the many who responded to its emotional richness.

May I always remember how the world, and more importantly, the nation came together during this time to heal.

To end, my friend Amanda Knickerbocker wrote something today that expresses my feelings more than I ever could--

"9/11 didn't just happen to New York, or DC, or PA. It happened to America-- to the world. It happened to the young men and women who serve our country, who fight in a war and come home missing limbs. It happened to the families who placed their loved ones in the ground. It happened to Republicans. It happened to Democrats. To Tea Partiers and Tree Huggers. To Christians, Atheists, Jews, and Muslims. To Wiccans and Agnostics. To us all.

I hope we can remember to focus on that which unites us, and less on what divides us-- to celebrate our similarities and respect our differences.

A terrorist attack cannot destroy this county. But losing respect for each other just might.

May we never forget, and always be thankful to those who serve."

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