A benefit performance of Anne Nelson’s The Guys, starring Wendie Malick and Dan Lauria, in support of Wildfire Research Network, will be presented at the Topanga Community House on Sunday, September 10 at 7:30pm. Wildfire Research Network (WRN) is a nonprofit public safety research group concerned with improving wildfire suppression capability whose “roots” go back to the Topanga/Malibu wildfires of 1993. The Guys honors some of the firefighters lost in 9/11 and is presented on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the disaster.
Anne Nelson, creator of The Guys, was teaching at the graduate school for journalism at Columbia University in New York when the attack on the World Trade Center occurred. Nelson was introduced to a fire department captain who lost most of the men in his company on 9/11. The captain needed assistance in writing eulogies which he would have to deliver at memorial services for his men. Nelson offered to work together with her brother-in-law, Burk Bilger, a writer, and the captain in writing the eulogies.
In the preface to the published script of The Guys Nelson writes: “Three hundred and forty-three firemen lost is a number. I had had the privilege of being introduced to men – their qualities, their families, their daily life – in a way that made them real to me, and allowed me to mourn them and the others who died.”
Shortly after 9/11 Nelson decided to write a play based on the experience. Within twelve weeks of 9/11, The Guys premiered as a workshop production with Sigourney Weaver and Bill Murray at the Flea Theater in New York. Wendie Malick said she loves the play “because Anne Nelson connects us with humanity and the firemen who lost their lives, apart from all the headlines and statistics of 9/11.” Malick, a Topanga resident, remarked, “For those of us living in the Santa Monica Mountains the play reminds us how much we owe Los Angeles City and County firefighters.”
Tickets for The Guys are $25 and can be obtained by sending a check payable to Wildfire Research Network, 415 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd. #190, Topanga, CA 90290. Tickets ordered by mail will be held at will call for pickup on the evening of the performance at the Topanga Community House, 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. Tickets can also be purchased at the Community House on the evening of the performance. For updated ticket information and directions to the Topanga Community House email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets are also available at the following Topanga locations:
Pat’s Topanga Grill, 1961 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Water Lily Café, Pine Tree Circle, 120 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Café Mimosa, 395 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Topanga Mail & Message, 415 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd.