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September 2005

Release Date: September 26, 2005

ASU Theater Department to Tell the Story of The Guys

Angelo State University students Gerry Goodwin and Kasi Love will bring to life the stories of four firefighters who died in the Sept. 11 attacks on New York when they perform the play The Guys Oct. 14-16 and 21-22.

The play will start at 8 p.m. Oct. 14, 15, 21 and 22, and at 2 p.m. Oct. 16. All performances will be in the University Auditorium in the ASU Administration Building. Tickets are free for Arts at ASU subscribers and Activity Card holders, $3 for ASU students, $4 for non-ASU students and $8 general admission.

The play, first performed at the Flea Theater in Downtown New York on Dec. 4, 2001, is about a New York Fire Department captain who contacts a newspaper editor for help writing the eulogies of four of his men who were killed when the World Trade Center's Twin Towers collapsed in the attacks.

The captain, Nick, and the journalist, Joan, spend a long afternoon together, recalling the fallen men by recounting their virtues and their foibles, and fashioning the stories into memorials of words. In the process, Nick and Joan discover the possibilities of friendship in each other and their shared love for the unconquerable spirit of the city.

As they make their way through the emotional landscape of grief, they draw on humor, the tango, the appreciation of craft in all its forms and the enduring bonds of common humanity.

Anne Nelson, a journalist and director of the International Program at the Columbia School of Journalism in New York, wrote the play, basing it on a true story.

The play is unique in relation to other ASU productions in that it features only two characters and that the story is revealed more through their words than through action and linear plot.

"We mostly try to craft words to their most profound meaning," said Dr. Bill Doll, who is producing the play. "This is much more of a language play."

The cast of the play prepared for the production through interviews and watching tapes of newscasts that Doll recorded on Sept. 11 and the days following. Goodwin talked to San Angelo Fire Chief Brian Dunn and Capt. Todd Sanford and toured a San Angelo firehouse to get a feel for the jobs of firefighters and their lives. Love, a sophomore drama major from San Angelo, talked to a newspaper editor to learn how journalists must detach themselves emotionally from the stories they write.

"Some of the things Sanford said were right out of the script, which he hadn't read," Goodwin said. "It's interesting to see how well Anne portrayed the firemen."

Goodwin, a junior drama major from Palestine, said he also drew upon experiences in New York for the role. He developed speech patterns from contact with a New Yorker he met, and he realizes how faces in the city can blend together.

"You pass all these people all the time on the sidewalk," Goodwin said. "Here, we're taking these four men you could have passed on the street on Sept. 10, and you didn't know what would happen to them the next day or what effect they were going to have on other people."

Stepping into their roles was emotionally intense for the actors, who are separated from the events of Sept. 11 by geography and time. Love was 15 and living in San Angelo, and Goodwin was 18 and living in Jacksonville, Texas, when the attacks occurred.

"I didn't realize the impact or how massive it was," Love said. "It's more real to me now. There are so many new discoveries, new feelings, new emotions."

For more information, call 942-2146, Ext. 246. The box office is open 2-6 p.m. Monday-Friday beginning Oct. 5. Call 942-2000 for reservations.