Events of Sandy inspire Woodhaven playwright
by Ed Wendell
Jul 30, 2014 | 654 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Daniel McCabe
Daniel McCabe
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Woodhaven born playwright Daniel McCabe’s The Flood will premiere next month at the New York International Fringe Festival. McCabe’s family drama unfolds inside a pub in lower Manhattan while Hurricane Sandy rages outside.

All scheduled performances of The Flood sold out within a few days, quite an achievement for the first-time playwright from our community.

McCabe grew up on 90th Street and 89th Avenue before moving into the home his family still lives in on 89th Street off Atlantic. He went to St. Elizabeth’s and St. Francis Prep, but feels the education he received at home is what prepared him for this venture.

“My father was one of fourteen, so I had a great crew of Irish uncles and I grew up with the classic Irish tradition of storytelling,” he says.

Of his debut play, McCabe says it was inspired by the events of October 29, 2012 – the night Hurricane Sandy hit New York. While McCabe, his wife and child were unharmed by the storm, other members of his family were not so lucky.

“My cousin who lives in Ozone Park lost everything but her wedding dress and another cousin lost his deli, which he had operated for many years in Brooklyn,” McCabe said. “It was completely decimated.”

But the biggest blow that evening was the loss of his grandmother, who passed away that night in the hospital as a result of the effects of a stroke she had suffered earlier. McCabe, who works as an electrician on film and television sets around New York, found himself out of work for a short while as the set he was working on was badly damaged.

“I spent the next week at my desk,” he says, “writing my grandmother’s eulogy and getting started on this play.”

Describing the play, McCabe says “it’s about a young man who is dealing with a family crisis; he’s got a brother in Bellevue who has recently attempted suicide.

“He’s very resentful and hurt by his brother, who he idolized as a child, but as the storm develops and things get worse he has to come to terms with his relationship and decide if he’s going to go and help him or if he’s going to stay in this little bubble of self-absorption that he’s built around himself,” he continued.

The play is also inspired by the actions of those in our city who stepped up in the time of crisis.

“This city’s great strength is in its diversity. So many different kinds of people from all over the world living amongst each other getting along somehow, Queens in particular,” he said. “There’s no place in the world that’s as ethnically diverse as Queens.

“But we don’t have all that much interaction with one another until something happens, something like 9/11, or the blackout, or Hurricane Sandy and I’ve always found that in those moments, most people go out of their way to help one another,” he added.

Residents of Woodhaven can vouch for that. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, residents of all backgrounds came together to help provide relief to our neighbors in Howard Beach and the Rockaways. The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association’s office was packed with volunteers and supplies for nearly two weeks after the storm hit.

“I like to reinforce people’s sense of humanity and sense of brotherhood,” McCabe says. “Love is the ultimate goal of this production. That and finding our way to helping one another.”

Although all scheduled performances of The Flood are sold out, there is the possibility that more shows will be added. You can learn more about McCabe and his play on his website.

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