The Looming Tower As a Play

By Carmen Comment


The New York Times’ Campbell Robertson profiles Lawrence Wright, award-winning author of THE LOOMING TOWER, an account of the days and actions leading up to 9/11. Now he’s turned the book into a one-man show, “My Trip to Al-Qaeda”, a seemingly odd exercise by someone with little acting and monologuing experience. So why undertake the experience, which now has a six-week-run at The Culture Project?

Turns out it came out of his time researching the book, where he struggled to maintain journalistic objectivity. “It was really difficult for me to keep my emotions under control,” he said. He began toying with the idea of writing something that would relate his experiences while working on THE LOOMING TOWER but he did not want to write another book. Andre Bishop, the artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater, encouraged him to pursue a one-man show, so Wright spent a few months working on the show – which features videos, photos and some onstage props – and presented a draft of the piece at The New Yorker festival. And after the run is over, Wright isn’t sure what will happen next, or whether an actor will step in the role he’s essentially playing onstage. “I’m sure that at some point,” he said, “I’m going to want to get back to my much different, much more private, writing life.”