Arts and Entertainment

In the wake of Sept. 11, local dramatists look for enlightenment

In the wake of Sept. 11, Palestinian American Hanna Eady was left frightened and isolated in his Bainbridge home.

“I was hiding because I was, like everyone, in shock,” Eady said. “But I was also a little scared. I knew what had happened here to the Japanese in World War II. And I come from a country where they can come to your house and pull you out without a reason.”

Eady hid in his house for weeks, he says, until American friends came to find him.

“They hugged me and told me they loved me,” Eady said. “Then I decided ‘there’s so much good out there,’ and I came back to the world.”

After he emerged, Eady was interviewed on radio and TV, but it was to theater that the actor/playwright turned to shape the internal process of absorbing and working through events.

Eady and Kate Carruthers had wanted to collaborate since Eady directed Carruthers in the 1996 Bainbridge Performing Arts production “Marvin’s Room.” Now, galvanized by 9-11, the pair launched into a project that became their Dec. 22 Island Theater presentation, “Dark Into Light/Light into Darkness.”

“We wanted to do something,” Carruthers said, “to have theater be the vehicle we all know it can be to offer hope and inspiration.”

Carruthers found a promising work in “Dark Into Light/Light into Darkness,” a collage of inspiring literature read onstage, presented by the Alliance Theater Company in Atlanta soon after Sept. 11.

“Art waits for the dust to settle,” Carruthers said, “but when it comes to expressing a tragedy, we need to be able to speak sooner, so we draw on the words that have been spoken in the past.”

Co-directors Eady and Carruthers wanted to modify the Atlanta production, adding words of Berthold Brecht, Samia Khoury, Mahmoud Darwish, Nez Perce Chief Joseph and Eady’s own to the Atlanta group’s excerpts from William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Thornton Wilder and others.

Megan Monaghan, the artistic director of the Alliance Theater, asked for acknowledgement, but otherwise gave Island Theater carte blanche to customize.

“The title is perfect because we’re going from the darkest day of the year into light,” Carruthers said. “And that’s what we want to express – moving forward.”

T he format of the evening echoes the movement from dark to light, with readings in Part One that express grief and selections in Part Two that speak to moving on.

“We took out some of the anger,” Carruthers said, “It’s still there, but we have had two more months since the Atlanta piece, so it’s right that things have progressed.”

“Dark Into Light/Light into Darkness” also marks the forward movement of Island Theater.

“We’ve not taken on risky issues before,” Carruthers said. “It’s exciting and a little scary. We’re putting some sharp edges there and if you lean on them, they hurt.”

* * * * *

Island Theater’s “Play Readings at the Library Series” presents “Dark Into Light/Light into Darkness,” a selection of readings in response to Sept. 11. Kate Carruthers and Hanna Eady co-direct Barbara Stuart; Keri Hadfield, Steve Stolee, Bonnie Wallace, Ned Thorne, and Bob McAllister in excerpts from dramatic, literary and historical works. Joe Milan accompanies on baritone saxophone and Hanna Eady on oud.

The performance will be held 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22 at city hall (moved from the library), followed by a discussion. Call 842-1301 for more information.

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