Decision Height

Just returned from Roanoke, Virginia, where we saw a Hollins playwright's amazing Decision Height. Written by Meredith Levy, it tells the story of six young women who are accepted into the women air force service pilots program in WW II. They underwent rigorous training to fly planes across the ocean ( some ferried bombers to England) or as target practice trailing silk streamers.  They took up the slack so more pilots could see combat, and often flew in the worst equipment available. The stories of the six women in the play encompass a wide range of enlistees, from the wife and mother who volunteers so she can help end the war sooner, to the rebel rule- breaker who loves to fly and loves her brother, who is serving on a dangerous mission. One is a musician, another a farm girl with a high school education who paid for her flying lessons by giving equestrian classes to rich kids.

Though these women took the same oath to serve as their male counterparts, they were never accorded military benefits ( or military acknowledgement of their sacrifice when they died in substandard planes since their families had to pay to have their coffins shipped home). Only in 1977 did they receive recognition for their service, and many received their medals seven years after that - by mail.

The set was astounding and effective in conveying the barracks and feel of the environment in Sweetwater, Texas. Lighting was perfect, the keyboard and flute a perfect sound track, and the actors nailed it. I wish everyone could see this production. Make the trip this weekend, if you can. Ernest Zulia, who directed, wins my award for best in class this year.