The Falling Man


Gethsemane Herron-Coward



Inspired by Richard Drew’s infamous photograph, two women war with a journalist in the aftermath of their father’s absence in a post 9/11 New York. On 9/11, a man remembers his daughter before taking his final plunge.




Gethsemane Herron‐Coward is a playwright from Washington, D.C. She has developed work with JAG Productions, The Flea, The Hearth, Magic Time @ Judson, The Ice Factory Festival at the New Ohio Theatre, Playwright’s Playground at Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Fire This Time Festival and Ars Nova, where she is a Resident Artist with Ars Nova’s Play Group. Additional residencies from The Liberation Theater Company, Virginia Center of the Creative Arts, VONA, and the Millay Colony, where she was the recipient of the Yasmin Scholarship. Semi-Finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Finalist for Space on Ryder Farm’s Creative Residency, the Dennis and Victoria Roth Playwright’s Program, and the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award. MFA: Columbia University. Proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild. She’s enamored with Sailor Moon, witches, and other magical girl warriors. She writes for survivors.



1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?


I began making small plays with puppets as a child, influenced equally by my grandmother’s soap operas, Vacation Bible School, and Disney Movie Musicals. I knew I wanted a life in the theater when I saw The Lion King on Broadway–I was 8 years old. I acted, I wrote poetry, and was a baby academic, researching before I realized I could put all my of interests together as a playwright. It is the vessel holding all of my aims.


2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?


On 9/11, I was in my 5th grade classroom, which happened to be located by The Capitol Building. I remember that day with vivid clarity, but what I most remember is my mom running into my school building, grabbing me, and us wandering Capitol Hill, looking for food-I didn’t recognize the world has changed irrevocably, only that I was hungry and that my mother would enter a war zone to find me food. I became obsessed with that day and what it taught me about love. I consumed endless media-films, books, until I finally came across The Falling Man, a photograph. The Falling Man, an article that ran in Esquire. The Falling Man, a documentary. In the latter two media, there is a focus


3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?


Black Femme Magical Girl Warrior


4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?


Alice Childress, Tarrell Alvin McCraney, Caryl Churchill


5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?


I once repelled off a castle wall!


6. What are some of your favorite plays?


In the Red and Brown Water by Tarrell Alvin McCraney, Indecent by Paula Vogel, Wine in the Wilderness by Alice Childress.


7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?


Follow me @gethsemane_herron