The second guest blogger this week is Molly Budke, talking about Workhaus Collective’s A Short Play About 9/11.
I was in eighth grade on September 11th 2001. I got to school late that morning but as I slipped into my shop class no one seemed to notice. Eyes were focused on the small television at the front of the room. The North Tower had already been hit, and we watched as the plane crashed into the South Tower. We moved to our second hour classes, dazed and confused, where we were told the teachers were no longer allowed to have TV’s on. My memory of the rest of that day is blurry. I remember some teachers pretending everything was fine, some giving us vague group work to keep us occupied, some trying to explain to us what was going on (and leaving us even more confused).
The next few weeks went that way too, except in my history class where we talked about what had happened and about how the school had responded to it. My peers and I were angry about what had occurred that day, and we were angry that we’d been forced to ignore what was going on outside of the school’s walls. The conversations in that history class were the most I spoke about September 11th until this year. Now that I’m actually an adult (not just the one I thought I was in eighth grade) and it’s been almost ten years, it’s past time for me to hear other people’s versions of that day.
In the last six months I’ve begun to hear artists talk about where they were that morning and what it has meant for the rest of their lives. Now, almost ten years since that incomprehensible day, it’s time to talk about what that day was in our country’s history, and our individual stories. It’s time to figure out how we got back to normal and how normal was never the same. It’s time to acknowledge how that day has shaped our country’s politics, for better or worse. It’s time to laugh a bit - not about what happened but about how we healed, maybe, or who we were or who we are now.
It feels a little wrong to say I’m excited about these conversations, but I can say I’m looking forward to the art that initiates them and one place I know I can look is to Dominic Orlando’s A Short Play About 9/11 produced by the Workhaus Collective this fall. I’m always excited about the diversity of work coming out of Workhaus, but this year I’m especially glad that the first play of their season will face a time and place I need to confront. I’m planning on attending the production on September 11th, when the night will include work by other artists including Paige Collette and Erin Search-Wells. I saw some glimpses of their work about 9/11through the Bedlam’s 10x10 Fest Development this spring, and what I saw from them then was breathtakingly funny and meaningful and I’m looking forward to seeing what how that work has developed.
I would invite you to join me on the 11th to be a part of that evening’s conversation, or to join me in seeing this production and being a part of the larger conversation it takes part in. And if you’re starting your own conversation about what that day was for you, what it is for you now or what it meant for your surroundings, I’m looking forward to that too. Let me know if your art is part of that conversation because (now, ten years later) I’m ready to listen.
Molly Budke received her BA in Theatre Arts and English from Augsburg College in 2010. She is primarily interested in participating in theatre as a director, dramaturg, critic, collaborator or audience member. Her favorite performances, though, are ones in which these lines are blurred. Recently she has worked with Young Fox Theatre, Campfire Theatre, the Workhaus Collective, the Unit Collective and the Playwrights’ Center.