9/11 Anniversary, Syria and
103+ GunPlay(s) and Counting…
By Nicole Anderson Cobb, PhD
During some portion of today you might find yourself reflecting on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
At the time, I was in graduate school. I lived alone. So, I remember sitting on the edge of my bed rocking and watching the TV just before 8 am that morning…then I remember calling Mama to tell her to turn on the TV as she was just coming in from her morning walk. I remember her very shaky voice saying “Let me call you back, I got a call coming in from Aunt Jackie on the phone.”
The rest of the day was a blur. Somehow, I went from calling loved ones and emailing students I had taught the previous semester…to spending the day at our local Red Cross office in Urbana working the phones at their phone bank…to attending a silent vigil on the UIUC Quad…to then ending up on the couch of my friend (now husband) in a Black dress watching CBS News expanded coverage of the unfolding nightmare.
Joan Chittister writes in a chapter entitled "The Reception of Guests" in her work The Rule of Benedict: Insight For The Ages:
“…Hospitality in a culture of violence and strangers and anonymity has become the art of making good connections at cocktail parties. We don’t talk in elevators, we don’t know the security guard’s name, we don’t invite even the neighbors into the sanctuary of ourselves…”
Yet, looking back on it, I SPENT THE WHOLE DAY WANDERING IN SEARCH OF COMMUNITY to steady myself in the face of such OVERWHELMING violence.
And in each instance, COMMUNITY REACHED BACK TO STEADY ME: the phone was answered when I called, my emails were responded to, the charity received my meager service that day, the crowd on the Quad squeezed in to receive one more mourner… and a friend let me grieve the day in his living room.
So, now, twelve years later, I have reached out to playwrights via this GunPlay(s) Competition. And they, in turn, have reached back to build community by exploring the consequences of fear, terrorism and armed conflict at home and abroad.
Furthermore, as we contemplate military action against Syria, the GunPlay(s) Competition provides opportunities for continued writing and reflecting on the conflicts of our age---be they global, political, communal, domestic, or personal.
I continue to be encouraged, impressed and humbled by playwrights---from across the US, Europe and Canada---who continue to share their work considering the impacts of gun violence in a vast array of contexts.
To date, I have received over 103 plays since the competition has launched on July 11, 2013.
So, please continue to submit work, share information about the competition with others and consider co-sponsoring GunPlay(s) events with us.
For more information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Com and I look forward to hearing from you.
---Nicole Anderson Cobb, PhD, GunPlay(s) Competition 2013-2014 Founder/Convening Playwright