Arts and Entertainment

A tribute to ‘the guys’

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by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
 

With the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, many people are recalling where they were and what they were doing when news of the disaster first spread.

 

Some people will shed tears over the loved ones they lost as the 10-year anniversary approaches. Many will say a prayer for the brave men and women who risked their lives to save others. The entire country will, undoubtedly, relive the horrific day in their minds, memories and hearts.

 

Wanting to acknowledge both the bravery and loss of those who experienced the event first-hand, Readers Theatre Plus is offering a special reading of “The Guys” Sept. 9-11.

 

“The Guys,” written by Anne Nelson, is a two-character play about a fire captain and a female writer who wish to help in the recovery following the attack on the Twin Towers. The fire captain, played by local favorite Paul Martin, is asked to deliver eulogies for “the guys” he lost in the attack. Since he has little experience with composing eulogies, he seeks outside assistance from a writer, played by Sequim’s Carol Swarbrick Dries.

 

All proceeds from the event go to the Clallam County Fire Chiefs Association.

 

The play, along with a talk-back with local firefighters, will run less than 90 minutes and will be presented at the Port Angeles Community Playhouse on Lauridsen Boulevard.

 

The final reading, on Sunday, will start a little later than past Readers Theatre Plus productions so it doesn’t conflict with the city’s monument dedication in Port Angeles earlier that day but will still allow guests to be home by dinner time, promised Swarbrick Dries and her husband, Jim Dries.

 

The Drieses first heard a reading of “The Guys” a few years back in Los Angeles, Calif.

 

“We were so taken with it, so wooed, it was so powerful,” Swarbrick Dries said. “With the anniversary approaching we thought a reading of ‘The Guys’ would be very appropriate,” she continued. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful play and I think thousands of smaller theaters around the country will be doing it.”

 

For Dries, who lived in the New York metropolitan area for 30 years, the play is personal. His children went to school in the area and had friends inside the towers during the attack. Some escaped, others didn’t.

 

Shortly after the attack, the Drieses were in New York not far from a cathedral. Every day, they saw multiple processions for the funerals of police and firemen. Dries said he couldn’t help but think how he would have felt if his son-in-law — a firefighter in Florida — had been involved in such an event.

 

At the same time, Dries said he couldn’t help but take a moment to appreciate his own safety.

Coincidently, Dries was on one of the very same planes that crashed into the towers just one week before the attack.

 

With so many connections to the tragedy, Dries said his heart is heavy as the anniversary date approaches.

 

“‘The Guys,’” Dries said, “is really a memorial to the people who lost their lives.”

 

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