Twelve years to the day after the terrorists’ attacks on September 11, 2011, Theatrical Outfit began preview performances of Anne Nelson’s play The Guys. Nelson’s play first premiered in December 2001 at The Flea Theater in New York City just months after the events it covers occurred.
The play opens on Joan (Jasmine Guy), a reporter-turned-editor, as she recounts how she learned of the terrorist attacks. Every American recalls where he or she was on September 11, 2011 when finding out about the attacks. It’s a moment that will never be forgotten.
Wanting to make herself useful, Joan explains how she was put in touch with Nick (Brian Kurlander), a fire captain who lost eight men and must write eulogies for them. As Joan and Nick discuss each of the men that Nick must deliver a eulogy for, an inspiring depiction is revealed for each of these ordinary turned extraordinary men.
Nelson’s play is not a theatrical masterpiece, but what is truly special about it is the emotion and sentiment behind the script. In a subtle and dignified way, The Guys pays tribute to the men and women who lost their lives trying to rescue victims of the attacks.
Director Elisa Carlson has given great vision to Nelson’s tribute, leading an outstanding design team and cast. Accented with by Mike Post’s lighting design and Kendall Simpson’s sound design, Lizz Dorsey has created a comforting space for the writing sessions that is encompassed by a dreamlike cityscape used for Joan’s insightful asides.
The cast is comprised solely of Kurlander and Guy, and they work well together. Kurlander provides a strong, yet emotional performance as Nick. Not providing much details about himself, Nick’s life is revealed through the stories he tells of his men.
As Joan, Guy embodies the New York writer persona perfectly. The character is somewhat understated; however, it’s a role that gives Guy the opportunity to remind us just how good of an artist she is. Even when Guy isn’t speaking, so much grace and compassion radiates from her presence that words are not necessary – the audience just connects.
A poignant, yet uplifting piece of theatre, The Guys plays at Theatrical Outfit through October 6, 2013. The show’s run time is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes with no intermission. For tickets and more information please visit the show’s listing here or the theater’s website.
– A. Wesley