110 Stories: Enloe’s Triumphant Return to Live Theatre


It’s been 19 months since Enloe’s theatre department emptied its auditorium doors, unbeknownst to them that it would be the last time most of them would perform there for a long time. Now, Enloe’s theatre department is ready to step foot on stage once again in their illuminative rendition of 110 stories, a play retelling first-hand accounts from real survivors of 9/11. 

110 Stories, written by Sarah Tuft, was chosen as Enloe’s 2021 fall play being that this year is the 20th Anniversary of the attacks on September 11th, 2001. It is a play built on the genuine interviews of people included in the travesty of 9/11, transcribed into the monologues featured throughout the play. This element of authenticity makes this specific work of art so fascinating. In the words of Ella Ludwig, playing Father Bob Demming, “It shows a lot of aspects of the disaster that you wouldn’t know… there’s a lot of different perspectives around the incident that you wouldn’t think about.” 

The topic is heavy, somber, and sensitive – three characteristics that depart from the comedic plays of Enloe’s past. “It’s a much more serious show and a very different style of acting, so it’s really cool to see the diversity in what we do,” says Reagan Lloyd, who plays a swing for Susan Flisk and the Narrator. This whiplash could give the audience some pause, but rest assured that 110 Stories will be rich and provoking. The cast has worked incredibly hard for many months to deliver a story that is as compelling as it is researched, doing everything they can to bring their characters to life. Kelley Calvillo, who plays Terrence, emphasizes the importance of character work in this specific play, saying, “This is such a heavy and important topic to so many people… we want to do it justice.” 

This show has been enlightening for the cast and all people involved. The students at Enloe currently have only dealt with the aftermath of 9/11, living through conceptions and news articles and documentaries, but never through the actual day. Claire Fellows, who plays Doctor Jim Snyder, adds that “It’s a little bit difficult just because we weren’t alive at the time that 9/11 took place. “Of course, we learn about the events each year, and we possibly are told stories through our families, but it’s not often that we are immersed in the first-hand accounts of the disaster as it was occurring. “It’s been very educational for us to learn about these stories,” Conor Kruger, performing as Don Casey, explains. For actors, the script has acted as a form of research on the event for them. Some of the cast turned to their parents and other adults for guidance, which developed into a connection between the actors and the people in their lives, as well as the people they play in their performances. Louisa Zaloom, a swing for four characters, notes, “You have a more real perspective for your acting and for the show.”

A recurring theme in the creation of the show was the relationship between minimalism and perspective. This play is not one of vibrant and fantastical set pieces and costumes, but it is instead appropriately framed with what is essential. Louiza Zaloom states, “It’s very minimalistic so that you can focus on just the story and what’s really important to it.” Emma Gaddy, playing Merlin Durhman and Canine Handler, chimes in to say, “It allows you to listen to what’s going on and tune in.” This intentional decision by the show’s production is what gives 110 Stories its dynamic quality. The character’s retellings are undoubtedly emotional with the capacity to bring us to tears. Still, they also leave room for the infinite range of human emotions one can have during a time of grieving, including humor. Emma Gaddy remarks that “This is how each different person chose to retell their own story.”

As for being on the stage again, actors are glad to finally work in a non-virtual space among their peers and teachers. Being online last school year posed a strenuous challenge for the arts in particular, leaving students, teachers, and directors wondering how we can create art despite being unable to see each other or their audience. For theatre, this meant virtual shows from beginning to end, The Importance of Being Earnest and a Killer Party. Being back in person means that the thespians and artists of the world can finally receive the human connection we’d all been stripped of during the pandemic. The whole cast agrees that this return to normal has been rewarding, giving back to them what was lost in a virtual setting. 

110 Stories is a show packed to the brim with talent, guaranteed to be a remarkable addition to Enloe Theatre’s repertoire. This play is ambitious, meaningful, and sure to be resonant with not only the patrons that have the privilege to watch these performances come to life, but also the people who nurtured this show for the past two months. It is a worthy entrance back into live theatre for Enloe High School, and to experience the glorious return can be put into no other words than Ella Ludwig’s own – “triumphant.”