The Guys attains success with compelling gravity
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Last week, the U.S. mourned a tragedy that still haunts its citizens after 11 years.
One actor, however, took the weight of eight lives on his shoulders to relive the pain from that day.
The Guys, is a play that focuses on the husbands, brothers, fathers and friends that risked their lives to keep New York City safe during the chaos that ensued on that fateful day. The play, directed by Matthew LaChiusa and written by Anne Nelson, was held at The America Repertory Theater of Western New York inside the Episcopal Church of Ascension.
Written just weeks after 9/11, having originally debuted off Broadway in New York City back in 2001, The Guys stars Victor Morales as Nick Flannigan – a New York City Fire Captain who has been given the emotional burden of preparing eight eulogies for the men in his company the lost, - and Andrea Andolina as Joan, a New York City writer who helps Nick with his task.
The play is simple, nuanced and controlled. The majority of it deals with Nick offering a series of stories about the men that were once in his company.
The stories detailed their likes, dislikes, flaws, shortcomings and failures. For Nick, the firefighters that died were simply his close friends and family, not the heroes the media depicted them to be.
“I personally loved the stories,” said Patricia Luko, a senior academics major from Northwestern University. “They were so detailed and just made you feel like you were right there and knew the person.”
Since the performance was driven solely by these stories and the resulting conversation between Nick and Joan, all of the emotional depth rested on the duo. There was no music accompaniment to set the tone – only their words. Movement in The Guys was scarce, aside from a dance number.
A story this emotionally charged is reliant on acting in order to get across its message and it could potentially falter if the acting isn’t competent. The play is about the human aspect of the tragedy, so the acting had to reflect that.
Morales is believable in the role as Nick Flannigan. His size bombarded the stage immediately, perfectly encompassing the role of a NYFD captain.By effortlessly depicting the struggle of losing his fellow freighters, Morales is able to relive the pain of losing them.
His performance comes from an honest place, according to Morales’ daughter Rachel, junior general studies major at Erie Community College.
“He’s a state trooper... [and he knew] a lot of people that went [to the towers],” Morales said. “It’s just hard seeing my dad that emotional and thinking about everything that happened – especially so close to the [anniversary].”
Matt Chavez, a UB alum, agrees The Guys did an amazing job embodying the feelings around 9/11.
“It just brings you back, even if you weren’t there,” Chavez said.
The Guys will be playing at the American Repertory Theater Sept. 14 through Sept. 29.