Ryan Frost, author and University of Richmond alumnus, debuted his most recent play, “September 12th,” on Sept. 10 and 11 at the Virginia Repertory Theatre. The script was based on Frost's experience of 9/11 as a freshman at Richmond.
The entire performance takes place in a dorm room the evening of Sept. 11. The piece follows five Richmond freshmen as they react to the events. The script was originally written as a film screenplay, and Frost’s goal is to film “September 12th" next summer.
Katie Sands, a performer in the reading and Westhampton College '15, said she had a rewarding experience participating in the scripted reading. Sands said Frost was able to incorporate the serious moments into the script without it being too serious. “He is still keeping the light heartedness of the play,” Sands said, “and he does a good job capturing the perspective of college students.”
Anna Porter, WC '15, attended the performance, and said she enjoyed the scripted reading. “I think there’s something to be said for a performance that can be both funny and sentimental,” Porter said. “I think it struck a good balance.”
Porter said the performance showed a realistic college response, as the students were trying to have fun and ignore the events of 9/11, but at the same time, also trying to deal with something that was very emotionally difficult to handle.
All main characters in the script were college students who have no direct relationship to anyone who died in 9/11.
Professor Monika Siebert led the talkback after Wednesday evening’s performance. Siebert, Frost and two of the Richmond actors also participated in the talkback and answered questions from the audience.
Siebert said she started teaching a class at Richmond about 9/11 literature in 2011 for the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Her class, Literature After 9/11, looks at how this event has been represented and commemorated in American and world literature.
Frost said he included a professor in the talkback because he never considered what it was like to be a professor during 9/11. Siebert was in her second year teaching at Syracuse University when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Siebert said that as a naturalized American, these attacks had given her the opportunity to think about her allegiance to this country. “Growing up in Poland, the United States had an iconic importance and presence,” Siebert said.
Frost said he thought this story was important because in five years from now, every college freshman will have been born after 9/11. “People will always remember that day from New York and Washington, and remember the heroes and people who lost their lives," Frost said, "but I don’t think that national consciousness, what it was like for everyone that day, will hold up historically."
Siebert said 9/11 was an important topic to study because we still live with the consequences of it. “We have American troops positioned around the globe fighting the war on terror and the geopolitical situation the attacks came out of has only intensified, by no means is this a concluded historical event,” Siebert said.
“It is going to be the defining historic event of your generation,” Siebert said. "It shaped your world in certain ways.”
Contact Collegian Reporter Bridget Friendly at firstname.lastname@example.org