Play commemorating Sept. 11 to show in Ammon
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AMMON — The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks impacted the U.S. like few other events in world history, and “Hole in the Sky,” the new play being staged by the Ammon Arts Community Theatre, aims to capture the emotions Americans felt that day.
“‘Hole in the Sky’ was originally written and produced in 2002 as a collaboration between author Reed McColm and a professor up at BYU-Idaho, John Bidwell,” the play’s director, Jorden Cammack, told EastIdahoNews.com. “When you talk to Reed, the way that he’ll describe it is that it’s a show that is based off of real experiences and events that have been shared by the survivors and also the families of victims.”
It’s a show that Cammack has been wanting to produce for years, and things finally clicked into place for that to happen this year. She sees the play as a way to not only commemorate what happened that tragic day but also educate young people who may not have been alive at the time of the attack and the effects it left in its wake.
“When I started teaching, whenever this time of year came around, I’d take a little bit of time during my classes and talk to my students about it,” she said. “In the beginning, the administration encouraged it. But as years went by, that stopped happening, and I taught in Utah before, so it isn’t just a regional thing.”
“It became even more pronounced when I realized that none of these kids even remember this,” she added. “They were babies, and now we’re to a point where none of the kids I teach were even alive. Kids know nothing about it because nobody talks to them about it. It’s been 20 years, and it already feels something we forgot when we said we’d never forget.”
After starting Ammon Arts Community Theatre in 2020, Cammack realized that doing “Hole in the Sky” under its umbrella would be a great way to stage the play as it would allow her to work with adult actors and cast performers who are age-appropriate for the parts. Working on such serious, heavy subject matter led to Cammack preparing them through different methods than she uses with her high school students.
“We did go at it a little more academically,” she said. “I did have the cast do character analysis forms. They had to tell me who this person was and what their family life was like. Every one of (the actors) had to ask themselves, ‘What was Reed trying to teach the audience by including me?’”
Cammack said plays like “Hole in the Sky” are important because they help us remember important events and educate those who didn’t live through the experience, but she stressed that the point isn’t to arouse rage or hatred.
“We said we wouldn’t forget so here we are, not forgetting,” she said. “But I want to make it clear that in not forgetting, it’s not coming from a standpoint of, ‘We’ve gotta remember this terrible thing that happened so we can be angry about it.’
“It’s really that this was a thing that happened. These were real people that we lost,” she added. “We owe it to them to remember them and remember the hole that was left in the people of this country, but also that it really brought us together for a little while, and maybe we shouldn’t lose that.”
The Ammon Arts Community Theater production of “Hole in the Sky” is set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., with a matinee on Saturday — Sept. 11 — at 1 p.m. Thanks to generous sponsors, admission is free, but you will need tickets. Those tickets are available here.