Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Guys - Nelson

Title: They Guys

Author: Anne Nelson
Published: Genre: Play

Book Source: Bought this years ago

Recommended if you like: Theater, Stories about 9/11, Emotional stories, Stories about firefighters

What Its About:  
It's fall 2011, a few short days after the horrific attacks on New York City, and Nick, a NYC fire captain, comes to Joan, a writer, to assist in his duties. Though bodies are still missing, families need closure and so the captain is called on to present multiple eulogies for "the guys" lost in the towers.

Understandably, he is grief stricken and speechless. He can barely speak, let alone eloquently, of  friends who have been lost. With kindness and understanding,  Joan manages to cajole enough information about each lost man to produce loving portraits for Nick to share with friends and families. While they work together, Nick and Joan form a bond. They find that though they have different life experiences, and might never have met otherwise, they are both New Yorkers. They are both humans. And, they are both dealing with the loss the best way they can.

The Bottom Line: 
Based on her personal experiences, Anne Nelson wrote this play in just a few short days after a  conversation with the husband of a friend who she encountered at an event dinner shortly after September 11th, 2011. The husband happened to be a director of a small, off-Broadway NYC theater near ground zero.  Due to the events, the theater was slowly dying. He asked for her help. While not technically a memoir, Nelson utilizes her recent experiences working with a fire captain, writing eulogies for lost firemen. The play was a slow building, but huge success, and helped many who lost loved ones to deal with the events.

This play is "powerfully moving and unexpectedly humorous" (Bret Fetzer, Amazon). It is a reminder that those lost were real, everyday people with loved ones who were left shattered. It is a reminder that even those Americans who did not know someone who was lost were also often deeply affected by the horrific events. It is a reminder that we are all Americans.

Well worth the very short read.