In the wake of the horrible tragedy at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, some words of comfort and encouragement from Tuna producer Charles Duggan.

The day this column is being written is lost in the shadow of incomprehensible cruelty. The scope of what has happened today at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and outside of Johnstown, Pa., is something my mind simply cannot wrap itself around, no matter how much it tries. I stare at a computer screen, struggling to string words together in some way that makes sense, but the darkness that spread out from New York and Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania this morning is overwhelming, and I can't see well enough to be sure I'm succeeding. The news that I have for this week and would ordinarily report with enthusiasm feels inconsequential, beside the point. I know that this is part of the fallout of the day's horrors and loss, and will pass, but I'm still loath to fill the space with the usual chatter.

Instead, I'd like to offer some words of comfort and encouragement that came to me electronically this afternoon. Across the nation, theatres and performing arts companies have chosen to suspend performances for a night or two in consideration of the awful immensity of this tragedy and in sympathy for the thousands of victims and their loved ones, and so it was in Central Texas. The Austin Theatre Alliance canceled Tuesday night's showing of the touring show THWACK!, and the Greater Tuna Corporation canceled the Wednesday and Thursday evening performances of Red White and Tuna at the Round Rock Performing Arts Center. Producer Charles Duggan wrote that anyone holding tickets to those performances will be welcome to attend the remaining four performances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then went on to explain the rationale for the decision, noting that it was "prompted not only by logistical and security concerns, but by a keen awareness that the magnitude of today's events has yet to be realized fully by the citizens of our country and of the world. A time of mourning on a scale heretofore unknown to our generation is certain to ensue as the significance and impact of these events on our national, international, political, economic, and personal lives unfolds. It is often precisely these times that cry out loudest for the relief that laughter can provide -- the members of the Tuna Family will be standing by to do their part beginning Friday, September 14th. Meanwhile, be strong in your faith in yourselves, your loved ones, your country, and to the power that watches over all of us." Thank you, Charles. Let's all remember how, in times like these, art and artists can offer solace, relief, and insight into what it means to be human.

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Austin Theatre Alliance, THWACK!, Greater Tuna Corporation, Red White and Tuna, Round Rock Performing Arts Center, Charles Duggan

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