It was a major catastrophic event that shook the nation at its core. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 left Americans searching for how to cope, how to rebuild and how to understand. There are many stories that could be told of those in the towers that morning, not all of them heroic, but all life changing.
The Mercy Seat is a 2002 play by Neil LaBute that was among the first major theatrical responses to the September 11 attacks. Set on September 12, it focuses on Ben, a man who worked at the World Trade Center, but was away from the office during the attack, with his mistress, Abby, who is also his boss. Expecting that his family believes that he was killed in the towers’ collapse, Ben contemplates using the tragedy to run away and start a new life with his lover.
The Las Cruces Community Theatre’s production of The Mercy Seat is directed by Patrick Payne and stars Darin Robert Cabot as Ben and Erin Wendorf as Abby. The original production on Broadway starred Liev Schreiber and Sigourney Weaver.
Payne puts the subject of the play into perspective, “Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001 — all American tragedies. Every generation shares a pivotal moment in history. Every American knows precisely where they were and what they were doing when they became aware of these earmarks in American history.” He asks, “What were you doing? Are you proud, ashamed or indifferent about it? Regardless, 9/11 gave us all a moment of pause and reflection upon our own lives. What did you do next? Did you stay on the same path or did you change?”
The show opens on Friday, April 8, and will run for nine performances through Sunday, April 24. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $11 for students/seniors/military, $10 for groups of ten or more. LCCT now offers student rush tickets for $5 fifteen minutes before the show time with a student ID. Opening night is gala night with cake, wine, and refreshments with the cast and other theatergoers included in the price of the ticket.
The language and mature subject matter of this play is not appropriate for children and may be emotionally difficult for some. Tickets for The Mercy Seat can be purchased online at lcctnm.org or by calling 523-1200.