Secondary school students today learn about the 9/11 attacks in history class, but none of them can answer the question, “Where were you on 9/11?” None of them were born yet.
Eighteen Eastbrook students are putting themselves in the shoes of 9/11 survivors in their performance of “110 Stories” by Sarah Tuft this Friday.
The play tells true accounts of 26 survivors and others who volunteered in the days immediately following the attack. The readers-theatre style performance features a slideshow of still photos and videos from the event.
Director Doris Goble said she wanted to do a special show on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that would be educational for the students.
“It’s a chance to really tell a story that doesn’t necessarily get told well in classes or by people who lived it because we are still processing the emotions of it,” Goble said. “At this point, we haven’t really grappled with what 9/11 has meant to our world.”
Peyton Barrett, a senior at Eastbrook, spent time finding pictures and videos to use in the slideshow. Barrett said the photos of human limbs scattered on the ground and of people jumping from the buildings stood out to her.
“It’s surreal looking at the pictures because I didn’t go through it, I didn’t know what it was like,” Barrett said. “Pay attention. Listen to these people.”
Karrlee Bradley, a senior in the production, said learning about the event through this play was a different experience than she had learning about it in classes.
“We weren’t alive obviously, so we never really understood how bad it was,” Bradley said. “To see the pictures and hear the story of someone who was there when it was happening is a completely different experience.”
Both students agreed that the event had a huge impact on America, influencing new laws, instilling fear and paranoia in citizens, as well as inciting discrimination and prejudice against the Muslim community.
Doble said the cast and crew were inspired and humbled by the stories of volunteers and first responders who moved to action after the attacks.
During one rehearsal, the cast did an exercise in which they had a 9/11 support group. The students remained in character and discussed the events based on what they had read in the script and additional research they did on their character.
“Just listening to them talk as these people was probably one of the most profound theatre experiences I’ve had,” Doble said. “It’s been a unique experience to sit with this text with them.”
The performance of “110 Stories” will be Friday night at 7:30. Tickets are available online and at the door. All proceeds will be donated to Tunnels to Towers.