By JOHN CARTER
Recently, we attended the production of two one-act plays at Weatherford College, both under the excellent direction of Nancy McVean. The first, entitled simply “New York,” was set in a Manhattan psychiatrist’s office shortly after 9-11 as 10 different patients who had either been present at the Twin Towers or had lost loved ones in the disaster came seeking solace. Each survivor struggled with their own grief and internal conflict as the doctor listened and tried to help.
The second play, entitled “A Healing of War,” was set during Vietnam as a grief-torn family (father, mother and sister) of a 17-year-old soldier killed in action were visited by his young lieutenant, who came to tell them how he died.
Both plays were about survivors. And I’ve never seen actors more moved by the roles they played. They genuinely felt their parts, resulting in the audience also becoming deeply involved. It was a night to remember!
The stage was already set for us because the performance took place on the weekend following the Boston Marathon bombing and the tragic explosion in West. Now, three weeks later as I write this column, countless other survivors are struggling to recover from the massive tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma. Add to those calamities, a fireman who lost his life on Monday in an apartment fire in Dallas.
Much has been written about the heroes in these tragedies – both those who gave their lives and those who risked their lives to save others. But the plays at Weatherford College have reminded me that survivors are heroes, too.
Death comes but once to any of us and a hero’s death is rare. The chance to choose our time and manner of death is only afforded a few. But the chance to survive a life-threatening event or a major loss comes to most of us – usually more than once in our lifetime.