Hole in the Sky
The Association for Mormon Letters presents its Award in Drama for 2002 to
Reed McColm for Hole in the Sky and for his body of dramatic works
produced since 1987.
The terrorism of 2001 has played so largely in the public mind that any
dramatic enactment of those events might seem redundant or maudlin. And yet
the BYU-Idaho production of Hole in the Sky by Reed McColm (directed by
John Bidwell) invited its audience into a space in which our fears could be
transformed into compassion. Though the audience was re-paralyzed by
pyrotechnics that too well suggested all the deafening chaos of those final
minutes in the World Trade Center, McColm's characters, fictional and
realistic composites of the actual victims, achieved both individual and
combined humanity. At the play's conclusion, as the words and images of
leaders, both national and Mormon, mingled with the dust and broken girders
of the falling building, instead of a curtain call and customary applause,
an elegiac silence of several minutes' length punctuated the catharsis--a
fitting tribute to the play's fitting tribute to this sobering event.
McColm's play was movingly redemptive, and the production was extended to
accommodate the many who responded to its emotional richness.
It has been McColm's habit in the last 15 years to stage ensemble dramas
fraught not so much with physical as with human wreckage: dysfunctional
families in Together Again for the First Time and his dark musical, Could
You Leave the Door Open; or strangers in an airport in Holding Patterns.
And yet in each of these McColm redirects the directionless toward more
human interaction than they'd thought possible. His characters unburden
themselves of their baggage without burdening the audience. This playwright
sobers us through unflinching examination of broken lives, and celebrates,
though mutely, how life is only reconstructed in communities, redeemed in
twos and threes, and in those potent minutes of communion McColm constructs
with such consistency and force within the intimacy of the theater.