110 STORIES weaves together first-person accounts of September 11th into a play that captures how 9/11 felt to those who lived it. Based on interviews that playwright Sarah Tuft conducted as a 9/11 volunteer, the play takes us back to when 9/11 was unimaginable, capturing the shock and horror of the day, as well as the grief, compassion and resilience of New York in its aftermath. 110 STORIES is neither sensationalized nor politicized. Instead, it restores the humanity to this event, sharing it as a series of moments we can all relate to.
110 STORIES has been performed by actors including Ed Asner, Billy Crudup, Catherine Curtin, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Noah Emmerich, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Neil Patrick Harris, John Hawkes, Jessica Hecht, Jon Heder, Katie Holmes, Neal Huff, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharon Lawrence, Melissa Leo, Aasif Mandvi, Katharine McPhee, James McCaffrey, Dash Mihok, Cynthia Nixon, Tonya Pinkins, Jeremy Piven, Jay O. Sanders, Susan Sarandon, Stelio Savante, Pablo Schreiber, Tony Shalhoub, Daniel Sunjata, D.B. Sweeney, Kathleen Turner, John Turturro, Ben Vereen and many other fine actors.
110 STORIES has been staged at The Vineyard Theatre, Public Theater, Geffen Playhouse, Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and Town Hall where excerpts were included in “Brave New World: American Theater Responds to 9/11." Directors have included Rudolf Buitendach, Barry Edelstein, Mark Freiburger and Gregory Mosher. Producers have included Andrew Carlberg, Eric Dean, Jennifer Maloney-Prezioso, Stelio Savante and David Urrutia.
110 STORIES shares the untold stories of September 11th, not just those of the police and firefighters paraded on the evening news, but also those of a pet-owner, waitress, web app developer, K9 handler, nurse, ironworker, photojournalist, even a homeless man who saved lives that day too. Their raw, freaked out and sometimes, humorous responses give us a 9/11 we’ve never seen.
A mother wonders if all the papers in the air might be a ticker tape parade. “Was there a Yankees game? I'm not much up on sports.” A doctor feels guilty about the incongruous deluge of donated luxury food at the recovery site, "You feel like you should be suffering too, rather than eating chicken parmigiana.” A chiropractor, giving massages to ironworkers, reports, “One guy asked me, ‘Will this make me gay?’ I said, ‘Only if you take your dick out while you walk over!’” Even Firefighter Don Casey, who emerges as the play’s reluctant protagonist, isn’t a larger-than-life “hero” in bunker gear. He’s an ordinary guy in extraordinary circumstances. We’re with him as he realizes this is no ordinary fire, “It looks like a desk at first. But as it's coming closer, you can see arms and legs…” His journey from trauma to recovery echoes 110 STORIES’ central theme.
110 STORIES also includes information withheld from the official version of 9/11. A nurse overhears EPA workers fudge air quality readings. First responders aren’t given adequate medical treatment despite respiratory problems. And the Fire Department delayed companies a crucial fourteen minutes to save overtime money. The City’s shortcomings are made further evident as we intercut between eight characters describing, in gripping detail, some kind of explosion. Only later do we learn, when they do, that it was the North Tower collapsing. Not even the recovery personnel knew what was going on.
110 STORIES was profiled in David Levin's A&E Bio special, “When Pop Culture Saved America," which included James McCaffrey, Daphne Rubin-Vega and David Zayas performing excerpts. The project was also featured on REELZ Channel’s doc, “9/11 Ten Years Later.”
110 STORIES been mounted to raise funds for charities including The Leary Firefighters Foundation, Operation Gratitude, The Salvation Army, Red Cross for Haiti Relief and New York Says Thank You Foundation. Just as 110 STORIES chronicles the power of people to respond to suffering, the play's history shows the power of art to respond to crisis.
110 STORIES is published by Playscripts and has been produced internationally by community, regional and academic theaters in Arizona, California, Iowa, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin as well as British Columbia, Canada and Bavaria, Germany.
It’s especially awesome to share this play with high school drama students. Check out these local news stories about Michigan’s Goodrich High School and Florida's Tate High School, as well as the Facebook message I received from a cast member. I love that kids are learning about 9/11 as a moment of extraordinary compassion instead of the way many tried to frame it to serve pre-existing agendas.