After Ground Zero: 20 years later


Felicity Fulton

Felicity Fulton, Staff Writer

On Saturday, Sept. 18, the Linfield Theatre Department held Ground Zero, a four installment program in honor of the 20th anniversary of the historic events of Sept. 11th, 2001. 

“No matter how much time goes by since 9/11,” said Caroline Calvano, a junior and actor within the program, “it will still affect the entire world, even the people who weren’t alive or old enough to remember.”

The production was directed by guest director, Justine Nakase, as well as assistant directors senior David Gray (’21), Ellie Gossett (‘22), and Rachel Goines (‘21).

The installments were broken up into stations, each representing different parts of the aftermath and consequences that came from 9/11. Despite the rainy weather, the theatre department pushed on and delivered a heavy show. Beginning at Ford Hall, the theatre students guided the guests through “TSA” where they were instructed to write down something that TSA had taken from them, be it physical or not. Then, one by one, the performers mimicked full-body scans on the attendees. These actions are only a few that became more widely integrated after 9/11.

From there, guests had three choices as to which display to go to: “The Cost of Secrecy” in front of Vivian Bull Music Center, “Binge Watching” in the Miller Fine Arts Center courtyard, or “Cycles of Fear” in front of Nicholson Library. Each display focused on a different topic brought about by 9/11, be that increased security or lingering biological effects.

Most students won’t even realize that these precautions weren’t as enforced before the disastrous events that occurred just twenty years ago. As the guest director Nakase pointed out in the director’s note of the digital program: “Most of the students in this performance were not alive when the Twin Towers fell. Yet they have grown up in a world that continues to live with the laws and policies enacted in the wake of those attacks.” Those involved with the production would have been less than three years old at the time and as such, most likely wouldn’t remember the towers falling.

When asked what she had learned from participating in the “Cost of Secrecy” installation, Caroline Calvano (‘23) mentioned some of the lasting effects that don’t get talked about as often as airport safety. “I had no idea that there are still toxic materials from the bombing of Afghanistan that can make people sick while they go about their daily lives, or that there are still refugees from 9/11 unable to return home,” she said. “I had no idea that there were still people fighting for their lives twenty years later.” 

Although it may feel like a lifetime ago, it’s really only been 20 years; an important factor that shows how quickly things can change and how long their impacts can last.