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diary

11th September 2001

I thought was going to be just another day. I hadn't slept well. I had gone to bed seeing the second half of Private Ryan. The last scenes are harrowing and take place among heaps of rubble. I went to sleep at three and woke at seven. I was going to wait for Lori to call at nine, but remembered that I had to post my stepmother's birthday card, so decided to leave early. Before I left I wrote an email to Lori. I said that after seeing Private Ryan that it put things into perspective and I would now view our separation as if I had gone to war.

Got to the post office at ten to nine and waited till nine for it to open. It was a beautiful late summer day, no humidity and not too hot. I arrived at the Lincoln Center at ten past nine. A piano tuner was next to the grand piano explaining to the resident stage manager of the Clarke Studio how to adjust the hammers for the keys. In the Clarke Studio itself, which is just across the hallway from the rehearsal room, there was a workshop going on. I felt a mild irritation as I realized I wouldn't be able to go through any of Prospero's speeches aloud. Lindsay Rae came in and then Tony and Giselle. Then someone from the Lincoln Center staff on our floor came by. He mentioned something about a plane going into the World Trade Center. Apparently it had completely shut down the subways in areas. Marci, Aussie Mark and Mark Powell arrived and said another plane had crashed into it, and that Manhattan was cut off as they had closed all the bridges. Giselle was in tears, as she knew someone who worked at close to the building. I was worried about my brother-in-law, Jimmy and his girlfriend Jerry. I tried to rack my brains to remember when he said his work was moving from the World Trade Center to Datek's new offices in New Jersey. All the phones were down or busy.

We reluctantly started the warm-up. Mira came in. She was our choreographer for the dance in The Tempest and had been teaching in the Clarke Studio, but said they now had set up a television in there, and confirmed that two planes had crashed into the WTC, but also another one had crashed into the Pentagon. Everyone just stood there dumbfounded. Another man came by and said the building was being evacuated, but we could stay if we wanted to. We voted to stay because we couldn't think of anything better. Nate Flowers rushed in, visibly upset, apologized, and said he had to go. David didn't make it. After the warm-up Giselle, Lindsay-Rae and Marci who is going to be Ariel for the first two performances did some singing with Tony, and the boys ventured out into the hallway. The Clarke Studio was deserted except for a radio blaring out news reports in a corner. I grabbed some hospitality food that had been left, and made my way to the offices. In one of the cubicles there was small television with a group of people gathered around. The picture was fuzzy because it had an inside aeriel, but it was clear enough for me to watch in disbelief the now famous pictures of the plane crashing into the building. Someone said that one of the towers had come down. I said that couldn't be right. I had thought that it was a small plane or a cargo plane, but now realized that it was a passenger plane. Gloom descended.

We returned to the rehearsal room only to find that now the order to evacuate was official and that every landmark building was having to do the same thing. Out on the streets people were walking in their droves. I was reminded of War of the Worlds or Day of the Triffids. The atmosphere was just surreal. We made our way to a sandwich bar. We tried to be jovial, to make fun of it; the truth was we were all shaken up. We went over to the flat rocks in Central Park, opened up the sandwiches and half-heartedly ran through our lines for both plays. The sun burnt our skin and the day seemed eerily calm. A beautiful, still, September day. The only hint of the madness was the constant wailing of sirens and the two fighter planes that kept making passes above our heads. Every time we heard the sound of an aircraft we stopped and waited.

By mid-afternoon we had finished and made our way the relatively short distance to Tony's apartment on 72nd Street. And it was there, in front of the television… with a crystal clear picture this time, that we saw the full and utter horror and madness of what had happened. The plane crashing, the buildings coming down, the Pentagon… the utter devastation… the carnage.

By the time I left Tony's the 1&9 was running, but many had to walk miles and miles home. Dionne, Robert and Janet (Robert's mum) were all sitting on the sofa watching the TV. I had had anxious calls, and made them back to reassure people and also replied to the many people who emailed me to check if I was ok. I was greatly touched by the concern. It was with great relief that I heard from Lori when I later spoke to her that when she rang her mother, the first thing her mum had said was: "He and Jen were late. They missed the Path train in." Thank God!

They both worked very close to the WTC. In fact at 9.25 yesterday, Jim had had a meeting on 101st floor of no1 Trade Center Building. 24 hours made a big difference. Relieved for Jimmy since he's already had two car crashes. And everything comes in threes. Although I suppose today it was four…

My son Charley was very shaken and wanted me to fly home straight away. I pointed out that there were no planes. "They should bring Clinton back," he said, "Bush is shitting it!" And later when I watched the President address the nation I had to agree with him. Bush was shitting it.

The impact of all this for our band of brothers is hard to tell just now. We had no show tonight of course, and I believe that everything south of 14th street is closed tomorrow, which rules out the show and planned rehearsal. There may be an impact on the extension of the show. Will people want to go out to the theatre? I think they will, as sometimes people tend to start to appreciate the more artistic things in life in a war situation; and at the moment over here it feels like that there is a war going on. But who knows what will happen?

I don't know what to feel except a great sadness for the loss of life. The futility of it baffles me. The backlash scares me. They have never had anything quite like this over here, whereas I suppose the Brits are a little more stoical having memories of IRA campaigns and the traditions of the Blitz. But for America, well you have to go back to Pearl Harbor. It confirms every fear I ever had about flying… If I come back to England it will have to be on the QE2!

I sent off my last diary report yesterday… it began "After the explosion of writing… a gap… a space…

The story below was sent to me by my brother-in-laws girlfriend, Jenny, written after talking with one of two co-workers of hers who were in the building when Tuesdays events took place.

Teresa had been running late for work for the past week or so, However, Tuesday she wanted to get in early. Seconds after she stepped foot off of the elevator that brought her up to the 47th floor - she heard a loud boom, and the building shook like she never felt it before. That shake, was the first plane hitting 1 WTC.

After that, she heard the elevator she just stepped off of, drop and the screams of the people still on the elevator echoed. She ran past the bathroom and escorted an extremely frantic women back to her office. She described the halls as quiet, however dust and smoke was beginning to fill the area. Instead of fleeing at that moment she had to check to see if anyone was in our office, because that's the kind of caring person she is. When she got there, she found my other co-worker, Karin hiding underneath a desk very shaken. Karin would not leave. She was too scared. After too many minutes of persuading her, Karin finally agreed to evacuate.

The walk from the 47th floor down to the 30th floor went fairly quickly. There were many people fleeing, most in control, although the stairs were also very quiet - most people were unaware of what was happening Around the 30th floor they stopped. From the 30th to the 20th floor, they moved very slowly. People were starting to lose it and the stairs were getting very smoked filled. Around the 20th floor was when they saw the firemen. She said they were exhausted having been carrying such heavy equipment up 20 flights of stairs. Everyone was clapping and cheering them on. A few stopped to let them know they are doing their best to get everyone out. Teresa burst into tears at this point when I talked to her last night, because it saddened her that those fireman, her heros, most likely did not make it out.

Her and Karin finally made it down to the concoure/mall of the WTC. It took them 1 hour! For those that are familiar w/ the WTC - they had to evacuate using the escaloters by the Warner Brothers store that go up to Borders. Midway up the escalor which would take them to ground level - the lights and power went out. 2 WTC was collapsing. Teresa had never heard such a horrific noise. Next thing she knew, she went flying backwards due to the force of the windows blowing out, and landed on top of my other co-worker. All Teresa could feel were the stings of glass going into her entire body.

After the building had collapsed - there was only silence. Teresa thought she was dead. She didn't hear a soul - she began praying thanking god for a wonderful life, for him to please take care of her family...Then she saw a flashlight and started screaming - I'm alive please help me I'm alive. A few others that were around jumped up and started making there way towards the light. The entire area was pitch black completely covered in dust and smoke. She found my other co-worker and ran to the police officer - who was the one w/ the flashlight. He quickly escorted them out through the Borders that was there and they were immediately put into Ambulances. On the way to the hospital - Tower One collapsed. They were so lucky! They were stitched up and released and are thankful for their lives.

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