That particular play, Bystander 9/11: A Theatre Piece Concerning the Events of September 11, 2001, is one that I have a really odd relationship with. So much of it is my own story, so little of it felt like playwriting, because so much of getting it down was pretty much therapy. Some of you who know me personally know that the World Trade Center was my subway stop that day. And that I came out of the turnstiles to a wall of screaming people coming right at me. And that my day didn't improve all that much from there. I had finished the first draft of the play by the end of September 2001. It's been revised and tightened up quite a bit since, and some events of the day have been left out (some of which made it to some of my other work), but it still feels like having my old journals read in public every time I see it done.
Many of its productions have been on the anniversaries. On September 11, 2002 it was done both at the Episcopal Actor's Guild in NYC and at Brandeis University. With the tenth anniversary coming up I suspect that it might attract more interest. Marketing this one isn't like marketing my other plays. I've been told repeatedly that it's a healing experience for those seeing it and those acting in it. I wonder how much that might have to do with proximity. The first time it was workshopped at the theatre collective I was part of there was still smoke coming out of the ground at the former WTC site. One of the actresses reading it had to stop and leave the room. It was only a few years ago that I could see the thing myself without getting anxious.
I do have another play that deals with 9/11 that doesn't give me any heebie-jeebies (I cannot believe I just used that word). It's called B'Shalom, a piece of it was published in DUO!: The Best Scenes for Two for the 21st Century by Applause Theatre Books. It's about the friendship between an Isreali immigrant and a Palestinian-American in NYC the summer after 9/11. It's a longish one-act. Now that my dissertation is done I'm thinking of expanding it to a full-length and renaming it Over Here. I have a feeling that that story will be one people will need to hear in the near future considering all that's been going on in the world lately. I don't know that it's really a 9/11 play per se, but the city in the aftermath of the attacks is the backdrop against which everything else takes place.
I read an article recently about how the American theatre appears to not want to deal with 9/11, and how so few playwrights have done anything with the subject. I wonder about that. As a commercial enterprise I don't see them being very marketable. As a means of helping us as a society deal with the events and their aftermath, I can think of few better mediums.
EDIT (September 2014): Since the time of this post, Bystander 9/11 has been anthologized in the Methuen Anthology of Testimonial Drama and B'Shalom has been expanded and renamed into Over Here and premiered at the NY International Fringe Festival and published on Indie Theatre Now.