By Katherine Thomas / Staff Writer
After a week of rehearsals, the Harpeth Hall theatre program decided they will not perform their previously planned play, “110 Stories” by Sarah Tuft. However, it was chosen to be performed this year because it had special significance, given that the year 2021 marks the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.
“110 Stories” is a collection of first-hand accounts from those who witnessed the 9/11 attacks in 2001, intending to memorialize the tragedy that took place. According to Playscripts, “110 Stories” is a “docu-play [that] weaves together stories not shown on the news, from people we can relate to…a mother, a photojournalist, an ironworker, a chiropractor, and a homeless man who saved lives that day.”
Instead of performing “110 Stories,” the Harpeth Hall theatre program will now be putting on the production titled “Ghostlight,” a noticeably more jovial tale about a girl who investigates ghosts in the basement of her new school.
“[The original play] was a little unsettling,” sophomore Sarah Mac Wallace said.
Many other students shared similar sentiments to Wallace of “110 Stories” not sitting right with them. According to Theatre Teacher Janette Klocko, almost all of the actors in the original show decided that performing in “110 Stories” would be too much for them to handle.
Although Ms. Klocko was passionate about telling the stories of 9/11 to students who did not live through the day, her concern for students’ mental health is more important. Additionally, balancing upbeat plays with heavier ones is critical.
“It is always important to have a balance,” Ms. Klocko said.
“I think many people would prefer to just have lighthearted plays, but there are so many important stories to tell that do not all have a happy ending.”
However, not all of the cast members are completely satisfied with the change in play. Senior Emory Morgan, a regular actor in Harpeth Hall productions, is choosing to opt-out of performing “Ghostlight,” deciding to participate in a Montgomery Bell Academy play instead.
“I have some complicated feelings. I wish they didn’t change the play. I think [“110 Stories”] would have been very powerful, especially on the 20th anniversary,” Morgan said.
“My understanding is that some of my peers were blindsided by the violence, but I think we can’t really ignore what happened [on 9/11] because that makes it worse.”
She clarifies that she sympathizes with students who didn’t entirely understand the graphic content of “110 Stories” before auditioning, but she is disappointed that the theater program backed down from this production.
However, according to Ms. Klocko, most students involved in “Ghostlight” are happy with the new play. “The play we are doing now, Ghostlight, is a very fun and quirky show for Halloween,” Ms. Klocko said.
Additionally, the production will include audience participation along with both sound and visual effects. The show will take place on Oct. 28 through 30 and is sure to be entertaining.