Ponca Playhouse Presents "The Guys"

Ten Year Anniversary of 9/11  --  National Day of Service and Remembrance Activity

Ponca Playhouse Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) community theatre organization that is about to begin its 53rd season.  Our performance space is an intimate black box theatre that seats 102 people, including ample handicap seating.   We serve Ponca City, our northern Oklahoma town of approximately 30,000 citizens, and a multi-county area surrounding us, Kay, Noble, Osage Counties. We strongly feel that we should provide an opportunity for our part of the state to pause and reflect on the horrific event that occurred on 9/11/01 . . . it happened to all of us.  In keeping with that idea, we have chosen to produce the “The Guys” which is a staged reading written by playwright Anne Nelson, a professor at the graduate school for journalism at Columbia University. It focuses on that tragic moment in our history. “The Guys” pays homage to the firefighters who were involved in the tragedy of 9/11, and it is based on Nelson’s personal experiences.

Besides approximately 400 total audience members, if funded we could make this show available to schools and other community centers in the rural area, including senior centers.  

The Playhouse will present “The Guys” on the tenth year anniversary of the event, September 9, 10 and 11. Plans are to involve area firefighters as volunteers for the production, and a portion of the proceeds will be contributed to area fire departments.  We have already met with the Ponca City Fire Chief and he is very supportive.  We are fortunate to have a Division Chief of the Ponca City Fire Department in the lead role of a NYC Fire Captain, Nick Flanagan. 

Also involved as volunteers will be the many volunteer rural fire departments in the outlying areas.  They will help with the set and props and act as ushers for the performances.  Some firemen have already offered to set up a display of fire fighter equipment in our lobby on show nights. 

Besides the firefighters who will help with ushering and the production staff which consists of Playhouse volunteers, other volunteers will include members of AmeriCorps, a program sponsored by United Way.  It is hard to give an accurate estimate of how many volunteers will be involved, the number keeps growing, but I would estimate over 50.

We will meet with the rural fire departments and determine needs they may have that we could contribute to.  We will have information in the lobby about how to become a volunteer fire fighter and provide signup sheets for anyone interested.  The state of Oklahoma is a tinder box right now.  We are suffering terrible drought conditions that are forecast to last through October and there is a burn ban in effect for most of the state.  Wildfires are a real problem and more manpower is needed to help contain those fires.   

We will host a lobby reception following the shows for a Q and A with actors and firemen and a chance for the community to say thank you.  

Two additional performances will be given for area firefighters and their families, free of charge.

We will have sign-in sheets for volunteers to determine how many show up to help in the lobby on performance nights.  The stage manager will track how many volunteers and the man-hours they work and what they do.  AmeriCorps volunteers can help with distributing flyers and posters and with creating the program for the show.

Other marketing tools will be our PoncaPlayhouse.com  website and our Facebook page, as well as the local newspapers and radio stations.