Office of University Communications & Marketing

Play Commemorates 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks
Sep. 2, 2011



FLORENCE, Ala. – A New York City fire captain and former journalist had little in common before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, but in Anne Nelson’s play “The Guys,” the characters found a way to connect in the wake of tragedy.

The Department of Music and Theatre at the University of North Alabama will present two performances of “The Guys” Sept. 9 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. in the Guillot University Center Performance Center. Free to the public, the play will commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

“One of the excellent things about this play is that it has no political agenda,” said Dr. David Ruebhausen, associate professor of theater and director of the play. “It is such a human, honest depiction of two people and what they were going through in New York at that time.”

UNA associate professor of English Lesley Peterson will play Joan, an editor and former journalist who wants to help after the 9/11 attacks but doesn’t know where to start during the relief efforts. She meets Nick, a fire captain, and is hired to write eulogies for his lost colleagues and loved ones who died on 9/11.

Charlton James, associate professor of theater at UNA, plays Nick, and said his character doesn’t view himself as a hero or realize how important he or his colleagues are to the community.

James was living in New York City when 9/11 occurred and said “The Guys” has a special place in his heart and is helping him through the healing process 10 years after the terrorist attacks.

“(My character) is a man in America, and is simple, yet so complicated,” he said. “At first, you see the simpleness of him, and then you begin to see his layers and how complicated he is. You begin to see how difficult it is to be a fireman and to sacrifice your life to help other people.”

“The Guys” was first performed Dec. 4, 2001, and starred Sigourney Weaver and Bill Murray. The play has been performed in 48 states and across the world. Ruebhausen said the play helps people of all ages and backgrounds take a different perspective of the 9/11 events.

“It is accessible to anybody,” he said. “It’s not political, not high brow, not artsy. It’s accessible, human interaction”

For more information, contact the Department of Music and Theatre at 256-765-4516.