Rochester, N.Y. --- It was January 2010 that Marine Lance Corporal Zach Smith was killed while on active duty in Afghanistan. His death came as a tragic shock to many in his hometown of Hornell and it later inspired one of his closest friends to write a play in Smith’s honor.
Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Xerox Auditorium a portion of that play called “Smith” debuts in front of an audience that will include Smith’s family.
Playwright and family friend Gloria Gambino has spent the past year on this project.
"I'm just so humbled by the bravery of both the family and the actors,” Gambino said. "Part of the reason I'm doing this project is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted is first; it's really for them to help them deal with this and Mrs. Smith (Zach’s Mom) says that every time someone learns about Zach's story it keeps him alive another day and what other way to do this than arts and the theatre.”
Gambino remains close with the Smith family and has become closer over the last year as she conducted interviews that went into writing the play. She said many of the actors are also in constant contact with the people whose roles they are playing so as to better understand and portray their characters.
"There has been a group of actors that have been on board with this project before a word was written, they just really wanted to do it,” Gambino said.