I’m pleased to announce that my play TWENTY BLOCKS NORTH OF THE ROCK PILE has been selected in the Orlando Fringe Fest lottery (Okay, third tier) and thus will be one of the pieces performed in Orlando next May. I had despaired of ever getting this play produced, and I thought this was the way to get it done. So there.
This is a true story about the 9/11 attack and everything that followed. It’s not my story, but the story of an actor friend, who (like so many of us New Yorkers) woke up on a beautiful September morning and opened the curtain to his bedroom window and saw the wall of smoke curling up in downtown Manhattan. He became fully immersed in the 9/11 truth movement, and was disillusioned by it–and as someone who had been a kid in Dallas when Kennedy was shot (and who remembers how HAPPY some local people were about the shooting), he had seen his limit of conspiracies.
It’s a complicated story that we collaborated on. I finished a few drafts of it, and then he had things change in his life and he had to move on. And that’s why I’ve had this interesting and difficult play sitting unproduced since W left office. I had gotten desperate about it and even posted that I was looking for people to mount a production.
In the last few years, I’ve become aware of the Fringe Festival phenomenon. I’ve taken plays to Ithaca and Tampa, and the people at the Tampa Fringe have always been very supportive of my work. And so when Fringe submission season rolled around, I started reading this play after leaving it alone for a few years. I liked it a lot. My big problem is that I’m a bit old to play my friend. But I looked at myself and realized I have nothing to lose, and perhaps a Fringe production might interest others in the story. I’ve heard great things from friends about the Orlando Fringe Festival, And I’m hoping for they were telling me the truth. I’m also hoping I win the lottery in Tampa and have the opportunity to perform this play at the Tampa Fringe Festival as well (they’re right down the road from Orlando).
The title Twenty Blocks North of the Rock Pile describes where my friend lived on that day on 9/11 (the phrase ‘Rock Pile’ was what the cops and firefighters called ‘ground zero’, which was the largest crime scene in New York history). Many people who were living in the city fought the good fight to come back after living through this event, and decided in the end that they couldn’t stay here. The play is NOT a dull recitation of all the theories about what happened that day. It’s about wrestling with truth when honesty seems to be in short supply.
Hoping to see friends in Orlando in May 2019.