OAKLAND PLAY REVIEW Performances bring tragedy to personal level

Actress Molly Galano gave a riveting performance.
YOUNGSTOWN -- As Ohioans and western Pennsylvanians, we were shocked at the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack that leveled the World Trade Center.
But for New Yorkers, it was much more personal. It was their own city that was shattered, their own friends, family and co-workers that were killed.
"The Guys," a stark and cathartic two-person play being staged by the Oakland Center for the Arts, presents the tragedy on the personal level of those who were there. Directed by Laura J. Phillips, it opened Friday night.
Molly Galano plays Joan, an editor and former journalist who helps Nick, a fire captain, write eulogies for the eight men from his unit that were killed in the towers' collapse. And for an intense 75 minutes, the writer draws memories out of the firefighter, played by Chris Fidram, and shapes them into moving tributes.
Most notable is how Galano converts herself into a Manhattan intellectual who is passionate, idealistic and emotional. She is a riveting presence, delivering the well-chosen words of a writer in a time and place that was known as ground zero.
The play is set in Joan's living room. Galano punctuates it with a series of monologues that reveal Joan's anguish.
Free admission
Tomorrow is the five-year anniversary of the attack, and the Oakland is offering free admission during the run of "The Guys" to all local firefighters and firehouse personnel. It's an offer they should accept, as they would identify strongly with Fidram's portrayal of Nick.
A jaunty fire captain and a native New Yorker, Nick is the more buoyant of the two, despite his closeness to the slain men. And the writing sessions' healing effect on him becomes apparent as he recalls the quirks and qualities of his fallen brothers.
"The Guys" was written by Anne Nelson, and is based on her own experience helping a fire captain write eulogies after the World Trade Center attack. It has also been made into a film starring Anthony LaPaglia and Sigourney Weaver.
X"The Guys" will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sept. , 22 and 23; and at 2 p.m. Sept. 17. The Oakland is at 220 W. Boardman St., downtown. For ticket information, call (330) 746-0404.

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