Unitec acting and directing students will revisit the events of September 11, 2001 in their stage production of New York: The September 11 Project directed by guest lecturer and Academy Award winner, Milton Justice.
It is the first time the adaptation of David Rimmer’s play New York will be performed in New Zealand and tells the story of 16 people trying to cope with the aftermath of 9/11.
“The play is about how the events of September 11 has impacted on these 16 New Yorkers one month on from that fateful day,” says Justice.
“This was an interesting period because there was a strong need for things to get back to normal and for New Yorkers to get their lives back but many couldn’t.”
Justice, living in New York at the time, was initially sceptical about whether the play would work in New Zealand but was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of staff and students to his suggestion.
“The response I got was a one of complete total shock and I couldn’t believe how many people wanted to get involved in it which was fantastic.
“One thing I didn’t realise until now was just how much September 11 affected everyone, not just the people of New York or Americans.
“I’ve got students who were teenagers when this event happened but it touched them quite profoundly in different ways.”
Justice says there are many characters in the play that people can relate to regardless of whether they were in New York or not, from the fireman who is hailed a hero but doesn’t believe it himself to the teenage girl who feels guilty that her family is alive when others have lost their loved ones.
“All the characters in this piece are ordinary people that show very human reponses to the whole event.”
For Justice, this is the second play he has produced for New Zealand audiences having been invited five years ago as a guest director for Unitec students.
Justice comes from a distinguished film and background that nabbed him an Academy Award for his documentary Down and Out In America, and an Emmy Award for Wanted: The Perfect Guy starring Ben Affleck and Madeline Khan.
He also has two Golden Globe nominations, the first for producing the television movie, Nobody’s Child and the second for Losing Chase directed by Kevin Bacon and starring Helen Mirren.
New York: The September 11 Project will run between September 10 and 13 over two sessions each night at Unitec’s Department of Performing and Screen Arts’ Television Studio, through Gate 2 on Carrington Rd, Mt Albert.
Tickets cost $10 for adults and Unitec staff and $5 for students and senior citizens. Bookings can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org and other enquiries can be directed to Katie Anderson on email@example.com