'The Guys' timing was right: this week on The Green Room
Bill Church has used a scene from the play The Guys in his acting technique class at Interlochen Arts Academy for years.
The Guys is the story of a fire captain who lost hundreds of men in the attacks on the World Trade Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
Since this year marks the 15th anniversary of the attacks, Bill Church decided the timing was right to perform the entire show.
“As we welcome some of our freshman and sophomores to the Academy this year, they were literally born after the event happened, which is hard to believe,” he explains.
Bill Church performs the two-person play with Laura Mittelstaedt, who also teaches theatre at Interlochen.
The play is based on a true story. Bill plays the part of Nick Flanagan, the fire captain who’s been asked to eulogize some of his firefighters lost in the attacks. But he can’t come up with the right words.
So, he seeks help from Laura Mittelstaedt’s character, Joan, who’s a writer.
"The play is really the action of these two people coming to terms with their grief, trying to articulate their compassion for these men, and coming together to write these eulogies," says Bill.
Laura Mittelstaedt says she hadn't really granted herself time to look back at her own personal experience with 9/11 until now. She says when the events first happened, she didn't really spend a lot of time thinking about how it affected her.
"This play has given me that opportunity," she says.
Laura also says it's a unique opportunity to be able to not only perform in front of the general public, but in front of her students as well.
"I think that's really important," explains Laura. "It gives you a little more street cred with your students, I think when they see you having to undertake the things you are asking them to undertake."
Bill Church says what The Guys helps us understand about 9/11 is the human cost, more than the images of violence and destruction.
"And if what we can take away from an event like this is a memory of how ordinary people can rise up in these extraordinary moments of crisis, maybe we've learned and maybe we've gotten stronger," he says.
The Guys will be performed Friday and Saturday evening at the Harvey Theatre on the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts. For tickets and more information, click here.