Twin Towers, a play by Damian Wampler (Kyrgyzstan 1999-01) will premiere at The Planet Connections Theater Festivity on Friday, June 12th through Sunday, June 28th for six performances only at the Robert Moss Theater at 440 Studios, 440 Lafayette, in New York’s East Village.
Set in the Bronx Twin Towers focuses on the lives of two best friends who have chosen very different life paths– Trevor and Jamal, the Twin Towers of the title, were once inseparable schoolyard buddies. Now, years later, Trevor has returned from Iraq a war hero, while Jamal has returned from years of overseas in the Peace Corps. The two clash as the fantasy of their childhood innocence fades to reveal the truth of their character.
Twin Towersis a coming of age story not only for two young men but for our country as well., It incorporates music, dance, a Brazilian dance-like martial art called Capoeira, and a primarily African American ensemble cast to enlighten and entertain viewers.
RPCV Damian Wampler was overseas for five years and many of his best friends from high school joined the military and are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. “When I came home, I realized that not only had my country changed, but I had changed. I had a greater understanding of who I was and what was right and wrong; an understanding that I had come to through my own personal journey.” Damian took his own story, and the stories of his friends, and layered it with the overarching drama of Bush based policies that have impacted us all.
An all African American cast was particularly difficult to find. “Damian infuses music and dance into almost every scene, creating a lyrical piece that is both realistic of an urban neighborhood and whimsical as the characters try to hold on to their childhoods,” says director Angela Astle, ”but finding actors who could sing, dance Tango and Capoeira was a challenge.”
Angela has a special connection to Peace Corps. “My sister and husband are both returned Peace Corps volunteers. I visited my sister when she as a Volunteer in the Gambia, so I have a sense of what Jamal, and Damian, have been through.”
Twin Towers has nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on 9/11, “but the image of the Twin Towers is ultimately a allegory for the division in our society that arose out of the ashes of that day” says Damian. “Trevor and Jamal are on a search to find themselves. They both escaped the ghetto, only to find that they still have to overcome their own fears. In a way, it has everything to do with 9/11, but on a deeply personal level.”
The play benefits the New York based non-profit ENACT, which uses professional teaching artists to inspire and education urban youth using drama therapy techniques. The play’s liaison at ENACT is Suzanne Lee, also an RPCV. “ENACT shows that everyone has the power to make change in the world, as long as they recognize that the skills they have are valuable. It might take creativity, collaboration and patience, but everyone can do their part to improve the lives of others. ENACT uses actors, but everyone has a gift that they can bring to others or a story they can use to inspire change.”
SHOW TIMES: Friday, June 12, 5:30pm, Sunday, June 14, 9:0pm, Wednesday, June 17, 4:00pm, Thursday, June 18, 4:00pm, Friday, June 19, 7:30pm, Sunday, June 28, 1:00pm.
Robert Moss Theater at 440 Studios
440 Lafayette, 3rd floor
TICKETS: $18 adult 212 352-3101 or www.planetconnectionsfestivity.com