Mourning always lasts longer than you think it will. Years pass, you figure you’ve absorbed a loss, and then you find yourself weeping—I mean heaving, breathless spasms—on your way to the grocery store. We Americans are very, very far from absorbing the losses of September 11, 2001.In the meantime, here are some tenth anniversary shows to help us cope.

Timeline Theatre presents Ora Jones and Francis Guinan in staged readings of The Guys, Anne Nelson’s based-on-fact play about an editor who agrees to help a New York fire captain write eulogies for the men he lost in the World Trade Center collapse (Sun-Mon 9/11-9/12, 7 PM, Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport, free but donations go to Ignite the Spirit, which “provides assistance to Chicago’s emergency responders in times of hardship”). A discussion with Chicago firefighters who helped out at Ground Zero follows each reading. Elmhurst’s GreenMan Theatre is mounting The Guys with community talent (9/9 through 9/18: Fri-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM, First United Methodist Church, 232 S. York, Elmhurst, 630-464-2646,, $15-$17).

In what may be a sign either of healing or deepening pathology, there are several 9/11 comedies on tap for the anniversary. Annoyance Theatre has Escape From Ground Zero, in which Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marlon Brando team up to flee New York by car after all the planes have been grounded (Sun 9/11, 8 PM, 4830 N. Clark, 773-561-4665,, $10). Two-man improv/sketch troupe the Gentiles looks at unsung “scumbags” in Twins: A 9/11 Musical Revue (Sun 9/11, 7 and 9 PM, Studio Be, 3110 N. Sheffield,, $10). And a sketch show called Too Soon? looks at absurd policies that have come out of 9/11 (through 10/4: Fri 10:30 PM, DeMaat Theater, Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 312-337-3992,, $10-$12).