September of this year will mean more than usual. Somehow, a 20th anniversary of a tragic event means more than a 15th or tenth anniversary. So it is with the upcoming 20th for 9/11, the attack on NY. I’ve bored people with my personal 9/11 stories on numerous occasions over the years, and some of my tales feel exaggerated (note to friends–9/11 stories don’t result in free drinks as often as you’d think) . But they arent. It WAS my first day of work at a temp assignment. It WAS the first time I’d ever worked in Downtown Manhattan. All kinds of things happened that day. And it’s also true that it cancelled another play I was set to do downtown, a play about a Vietnam Vet friend of mine who’d protested the war INSIDE Cam Ranh bay in South Vietnam. I just couldn’t see getting people upset.
Several years later, my friend Actor Ben Roberts said we should do a play. Ben and I had also toured another solo show I’d written, so this was not new ground. He was of a mind to do a ‘loose change’ presentation of all the anomalies we saw in NY that day and all the conspiracies they fed. What we ended up with is a story about his life and how it intersected with 9/11. What I wrote was a bit different. I had already done a monologue play about 9/11, called THE STORY OF FALLING DON. I toured that piece for awhile, but it has a different feel to it. You can look it up here: The Story of Falling Don. It’s an easy play to tour, kinda short, doesn’t offend as many people.
And yes, TWENTY BLOCKS NORTH OF THE ROCK PILE was finally premiered at the Orlando Fringe Festival in 2019. And…. timing was wrong. I’m talking about conspiracy theories in a town where the LGBT community had lived through the slaughter of many residents the year before at the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting. Somehow the fact that I was talking about conspiracies made me an ally? A promoter? of the Alex Jones craziness that engulfed the Pulse Nightclub shooting, and people stayed away. To be clear, the play does address some of the conspiracy theories that continue to surround 9/11. But THE STORY OF FALLING DON is about real people who had no answers for 9/11. I explore themes about such thoughts, but I”m not sending people out of the theater to explore all the theories. I’m talking about everyday people whose lives were changed by living through what happened that day.
So I’m doing some rewriting of TWENTY BLOCKS, which is an hour plus in length. I could see doing an evening that comprised THE STORY OF FALLING DON then an intermission full of drinks, then TWENTY BLOCKS NORTH OF THE ROCK PILE. then a post-theater get together where audience and playwright could get together.
This is a search for a theatrical home for either of these pieces. I think 9/11 put adults through the kind of angst not seen since Pearl Harbor, and I think our incomplete healing from that moment has a lot to do with the decades of pain we’ve felt since then. So if you have a venue, I’ll need a week or so to rehearse (more if we’re doing both) and we should talk. Message me here or go to my website (hint–if you’re reading this you’re on my website) and get in touch with me.
Me at the preview of my show at the Orlando Fringe. I try to put three or four jokes into every show so I at least have a chance to draw an audience.