The sunlit image of two towers standing stoically where they no longer do acts as the focal point of the room.
It is 3 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012 and 114 Theatre Building transforms into a time machine, taking the audience back ten years, to the one-year anniversary of the attacks.
“A Day in the Life of A People” is an original play based on the events of Sept. 11, but with an interesting look at the day.
Twelve people, all of different races and professions, tell their account of the day from completely different perspectives. It is a story of raw emotion, reminding the audience of the moment that altered the lives of Americans.
“The main idea [of the play] is to humanize all the victims. Death is not just a number,” said Zhao Yadno (senior-English), who played the waiter in the play.
Charles Dumas, a professor in the School of Theatre, wrote and directed the play.
The play, Dumas said, has been performed every year since its first production in 2002. It has been performed at various venues and has been performed by students and professionals alike.
This year, the play was put together by Dumas’ workshop class, Theatre 208: “Theatre in Diverse Cultures.” The class deals with issues of social change and diversity, thus it was the perfect class to do such a commemoration, Dumas said.
The cast of all students has been working on the event since the first day of the semester.
The play follows the stories of a waiter, mother, farmer, stockbroker, homeless woman, TV reporter, soldier, student, actor, Muslim woman, fireman and nurse. Each person has his or her own story –– some of which were based on real-life occurrences.
The waiter works in the restaurant of the World Trade Center and is trapped after the attack. He commits suicide by jumping out the window after realizing his only other option would be stepping down the stairs into a fire.
The mother finds out she is pregnant on the day of the attack, amidst all of the chaos.
Libby Ross (senior-public relations) played the mother –– a role that served as the joy among the terror of the day, she said.
The farmer witnessed the plane fly overhead in the fields of his farm in Pennsylvania and speaks on how the future can be bright if the country acts properly.
The stockbroker is a black and powerful female who worked hard to achieve success, only to lose all of it in the attack. Though she survives, the attack destroys her drive for stock exchange.
The homeless woman lived under the tunnel of the World Trade Center and dies when the building collapses — not that anyone realizes she is there.
Anna Foley (freshman-Spanish and secondary education) played the homeless woman and said the pain of homeless people and the pain of the Sept. 11 attack made for a very emotional situation.
The female TV reporter roams the skies in the helicopter when the attack occurs –– her cameraman capturing the second plane flying into the building.
The soldier is at The Pentagon when the attack occurs, reaffirming his desire to protect his country.
The student, a girl unable to escape the city, dies. Xiaolu Ye (junior-economics) plays the student and said her role allowed for a shift in perspective.
Meanwhile, the actor is a woman married to a man working in the World Trade Center. She and her husband both survive, but not without hours of panic and tears.
The Muslim woman owns a restaurant with her husband in the city, and although she doesn’t believe in all aspects of American culture, asserts that those who attacked the buildings go against the Quran.
The fireman trying to rescue those trapped in the building dies when the building collapses –– disappearing into the city he spent his life defending.
Lastly, the nurse finds her way to the hospital, anxious to help those in need, only to find that the severe cases never come –– they never made it.
The juxtaposition of the characters tells a heart-wrenching story about death, life and how to go on after all was done.
Carshena Culmer (senior-psychology and communication arts and sciences), who played the stockbroker in the play, said plays like this are important to call to remembrance as time goes on and people forget.
Perri Atkinson (senior-English), from New Jersey, said the play “definitely brought back a lot of memories.”
The cast mimicked the sense of community that New York City felt that fateful day in creating their production.
“All of us came together [in rehearsing]. We all rooted for each other,” said Mandy Stango (senior-English and creative writing), who played the TV reporter.
The cast talked a lot as a group “to get the emotion out,” Anne-Marie Pietersma (junior-integrative arts) said.
“All together, the play is not meant to bring flashbacks but to bring healing to the community,” said Pamela Nuñez (junior-public relations), who played the nurse.
The class will also be putting on a play at the end of the semester about the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case.
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