A visual and audio masterpiece wings its way onstage with Imagination Stage’s production of the world premiere of When She Had Wings. Written by Suzan Zeder, a four-time winner of the Distinguished Play Award by the American Alliance of Theatre and Education, and directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer, Wings is presented as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival in the Washington, DC area.
When She Had Wings is a story based on the life of American pilot Amelia Earhart and the mystery that surrounds her disappearance in 1937, during an attempt to be the first person to fly solo along the equator around the world.
…production elements flow together with the written word and build off each other to create this amazingly original piece.
“B” or Beatrix, played by Maggie Wilder, who is a delight and a natural on stage, is a nine-year-old girl who lives in the present time and in the next few days will turn ten. She is obsessed with wanting to fly and anything to do with Amelia Earhart. Her backyard is her playground, and her treehouse is her sanctuary. The treehouse is decorated to look like an old airplane, the kind that Amelia flew, with long wooden spoons for front and wing propellers and old tables, paint cans and garden supplies piled up to make the body of the plane. The entire backyard set, designed by Luciana Stecconi, is wonderfully whimsical, making everyday objects magical.
When B meets “A,” a mysterious stranger who appears in her airplane treehouse, B is convinced that A is none other than Amelia Earhart even though A can only make bird squawks and seems to not know who or where she is. A and B start an imaginative adventure together with the promise of flight as its goal.
The entire play is a peek into the mind and imagination of a nine-year-old girl. We see her heroes: Amelia Earhart or A, played by an expressive and bold Pamela Christian, and B’s father, a kind and supportive Ian Le Valley. We also meet her staunch enemy, gravity. Gravity is not its own character, but B sees it that way – the only thing that is keeping her tied down — and the older and heavier she gets, the harder it becomes to defeat gravity.
Also living in B’s imagination is Sound OP, played by James Konicek, and Wing Man, portrayed by Calvin McCullough. These two characters spend the entire time on stage and create the things B thinks about. When she thinks of music, there is music, when she thinks of flying, they are the ones on the ground guiding her through her flight. Konicek and McCullough don’t have a lot of lines; they use movements to express thoughts and actions.
The movements, by Movement Director Andrea Moon, are a large contributor to this visual masterpiece. The lighting, designed by Zachary Gilbert, adds to the magic of flying and allows for a surprise or two. Parts of the audio piece, all sound designed by Christopher Baine, uses prerecorded children talking of their dreams, their imaginations and what flying means to them. All these production elements flow together with the written word and build off each other to create this amazingly original piece.
Watch what happens when moonbeams fill the stage!
Running Time: Approximately one hour with no intermission.
When She Had Wings is running through November 1, 2015 at Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Avenue Bethesda, Maryland 20814. For tickets call the Box Office at 301-280-1660 or click here.