With spring comes a very unusual show at the Marian Theatre Guild in Whiting. "The Guys" by Anne Nelson is a play that director Jayma Kay Emerson's hopes will affect each audience member in his own special way.
The synopsis of the two-person show starring Deborah Rokosz and Kevin Sherman is about the after-effects of the collapse of the World Trade Center. In the play, Joan, an editor, helps Nick, an FDNY captain, prepare the eulogies for the unprecedented number of firefighters who died under his command that day.
"I cannot stress enough that this show is not about 9/11, rehashing the events of that day," Emerson said. "It's the real story about firemen and their lives prior to the attacks. Will there be sad moments? Absolutely.
"But I think audiences will be surprised to find there will also be laughter and inspiration and a strong sense of pride."
The director saw the show in 2002 and said that for her it "was a beautiful tribute to these brave men and women, without being oppressive about the actual event. My husband and I also saw it in Chicago with Jeremy Piven (lead actor in Selfridge's on PBS) in the role of the captain.
"It is a powerful piece and I think that is because it doesn't speak of firemen as supermen. Their conversations in the show talk about these everyday men whose jobs made them heroes under unthinkable circumstances."
Because the show is dedicated to and about first responders, the Guild has offered an invitation to all active and retired fire personnel from local cities and towns, as well as BP firefighters, to attend a performance free. You need only to contact the box office at (219) 473-7555, identify yourself as a guest, and present some form of identification to confirm your occupation when you pick up your ticket. You may make reservations for other members of your family or friends at the same time. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $12 for students/senior citizens.
"These men and women didn’t do anything different that day than they would have any other day," Emerson added. "I think there's an innate character in each and every one that drives them to protect and help, no matter the consequences," she said.
"To them, this is the best and most important job in the world. What I hope everyone takes away from seeing this show is a sense of pride. That is a big theme for me. . .pride in a great city like New York, pride in these particular men that saved so many lives that day. . . pride in our own local men and women who take on a job most people wouldn’t be able to handle. And the pride they themselves have in their work and their comrades and in their hometowns."
"The Guys" will be performed at 8:15 p.m. Saturdays, April 26 and May 3, and 3 p.m. Sundays, April 27 and May 4. Call the box office Monday through Friday for reservations. A dinner/theater option is available for Saturday evening performances.