War At Home Review

Submitted by Alex Eades on Thu, 18 Aug '11 8.14pm
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
American High School Theatre Festival
Running time

This may sound like an extraordinarily insensitive and heartless thing to say, but I don’t well up when I hear a New Yorker, an American, or anybody talk about 9/11. And I do feel a little guilty about that. Why is that the case? Do I not care? I think I do. I think the problem is that, and I hate to say this, the over sentimental, flag-waving, “we are the world”, American way simply does not translate well to me.

Am I alone? Am I just a horrible, cold-blooded Brit who cares for little but himself and his own? Maybe. But, thankfully, by the end of War At Home I was comforted by the realisation that I was not alone.

War At Home shows that horrific day from the perspective of a group of high school students on the outskirts of New York City. As they attempt to contact loved ones as the disaster unfolds, the young have to contemplate a future in which every Muslim could be a terrorist and every aeroplane a missile.

As much as we want to applaud the young cast and as much as we want to take the subject seriously, this show is just too over the top to have any kind of emotional impact. As much as I love our dear cousins across the Atlantic for their many qualities, so many reasons why people don’t have a lot of patience for them is evident here.

Over dramatic and over simplistic, I couldn’t help but cringe the whole way through. And when We Shall Overcome kicked in at the end (Yes, it actually did happen) and we were all made to hold hands together, you could see not unity, but a very clear divide between the performers and the audience. Between the teary eyed Americans and the frustrated other.

Maybe it’s time to start making a new kind of 9/11 show. A thoughtful one, rather than emotional one. Or maybe, here’s a kicker, unless somebody has something new and intelligent to say, people should start writing about something else. There are plenty more devastating things, more important things, to discuss, if tugging on heartstrings is your thing.

Show run ended