Kim Schultz on the making of her play “No Place Called Home”, a reaction to 9/11 and the costs of war.
Recently we as a nation commemorated the anniversary of 9/11. I along with my fellow New Yorkers and Americans mourn the loss of those almost 3,000 lives that fateful day ten years ago. It was a tragedy unlike any I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime. An attack of epic proportions for the U.S., more commonplace, perhaps in other parts of the world, but a devastating attack for Americans. What frightens and horrifies me however is how we have transformed as a nation since then, who we have become as individuals and as a country since the attack on 9/11. We were attacked by Islamic terrorists, not Islam itself. And yet, attack Islam, we do.
This is not who we are as Americans or at least who we were. Have we lost all decency? All reason? When did we decide to go to war with everyone who is different from us?
On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I was down near the World Trade Center site performing a piece of a play called “No Place Called Home,” I wrote about the Iraqi refugee crisis – a crisis created because of our invasion of that country. While performing a short section on the street in front of City Hall, several individuals shouted such things as “God bless America. Screw Iraq!” and “Bang! Bang!”
Now, we can say these were freak events. But I don’t think that is the case. These people spoke their minds as our nation’s freedoms allow us to. But what I found most distressing and disturbing was the anger and ignorance under the words. Why do we have to disregard, even hate the other, in order to be an American? Since when do patriotism and bigotry go hand in hand?
Over 4 million Iraqi people have been displaced since the war began. 4 million made homeless from a war most Americans now look at as a mistake. This is to say nothing of the 100,000 innocent killed in Iraq. Most Americans don’t know this– or choose to remain ignorant.
Every Day I wonder what I can and should do about this. One thing I can do and we all can do is speak up for injustice and inequality through art by whatever means we have-to give voice through our art. 10YAC allows just that—an opportunity to speak up and say “enough”, an opportunity to do right by others through the powerful medium of creative creation. Art is powerful and unique. It makes the audience feel and connect in a way articles, interviews and news articles never can. What do you want to say? How can you say it? Just start.
I was never an advocate for anything. Prior to my trip, I knew very little about Islam and now? Now, I wrote a play about Iraqi refugees, giving voice to those 4 million people and write blog posts about anti-Islam bigotry. What can you do? Let your voice be heard. It can change the world.
Originally from Minnesota, Kim Schultz is an actress, writer and comedienne. Nationally, she has worked at The Guthrie Theatre, Childrens’ Theatre Co. ,Theatre de la Jeune Lune, The Chicago Improv Fest, The Brave New Workshop, HBO Comedy Showcase and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Currently residing in New York, Kim has performed at The Hamptons Shakespeare Festival, Oberon Theatre, 3LD, Themantics Group and The Zipper Factory Theatre. She also created, produced and acted in a regionally televised comedy improv show on ABC called Comedy Hotel. Kim wrote and performed a critically acclaimed autobiographical solo show performed off-Broadway called, The F Trip. And after traveling to the Middle East in the fall of 2009, Kim was commissioned to write a play to draw attention to the Iraqi refugee crisis. No Place Called Home was directed by Sarah Cameron Sunde and enjoyed an off-Broadway run in NYC in the fall of 2010 and is currently touring nationally. Kim is a prize winner for a short story she wrote on fieldreport.com, has been published at humorpress.com, Futuretakes and is a NYC Moth storytelling champion for a story she wrote and performed about falling in love with a conman. Kim also teaches improvisation for people and organizations wishing to change their lives and laugh more. www.kimschultz.net