With everyone constantly on the lookout for their next production, I just wanted to share our experience with the show 110 Stories by Sarah Tuft. Our public high school produced this show virtually earlier this year and it was such a wonderful learning opportunity that we wanted to make sure you knew about it!
"From the first crash at the Towers to a last goodbye at Ground Zero, 110 Stories takes us through 9/11 as told by those who were there. Based on interviews, this docu-play weaves together stories not shown on the news, from people we can relate to...a mother, a photojournalist, an ironworker, a chiropractor, and a homeless man who also saved lives that day. Their unflinching, freaked-out and occasionally funny accounts take us back to when 9/11 was unimaginable, capturing the shock and horror of the day as well as the resilience of New York City in its aftermath. Remaining apolitical, 110 Stories memorializes September 11th by humanizing history to reveal our innate compassion."2021 is the 20th anniversary of this historic day, which made this production particularly timely. In addition, the feelings of isolation, unknown, fear, and numbness that are exuded in this script are all emotions that our students could identify with on some level due to the COVID pandemic. It was amazing to us how little our students actually knew of that day. Most of what they know they learned in history classes. These real stories of everyday people, brought this piece of history to life for them with details that only those there that day would know. The amount of high heel shoes that were abandoned in the streets, the dogs searching for survivors, the initial rumors that a plane had accidentally crashed...
Not only are the stories riveting themselves and the script carefully written to weave those stories in and out of each other, the large and flexible casting allowed us to give everyone a speaking role who auditioned and since the blocking is very simple (so that the focus is on the stories), it makes it an excellent option for a virtual production or for an easily socially distanced on-stage production. My personal favorite aspect was letting the students do their own dramaturgical research on their characters and the role they played in the big picture. It was also an excellent piece to dig into emotions and the idea of numbness or disbelief after a traumatic event.We used the original script and received permission to take the swearing out (there is quite a bit), but I've just learned that the playwright has created a "clean" version with no swears as well as a "religious" version with no swears and no casual references to God if either of those aspects are important to your school.If you have any questions, I'd be happy to share more about our experience with this piece or guide you to further resources!