Playwright Susan Zeder has masterfully created When She Had Wings, a production inspired by the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. There is so much depth to this story. It’s a little bit of finding your way, a lot of childhood imagination and just the right amount of intriguing facts about Amelia Earhart’s historical presence. The night before the show, my daughter’s and I read a book about Amelia Earhart, which helped them draw many connections while watching the production.
There is much to be said about childhood dreams. They are strong and believable and often times fade as age creeps in, which is exactly what “B” does not want to happen to her. An almost ten year old named Beatrix (Maggie Wilder), or “B’ as she prefers, is enamored by Amelia Earhart’s disappearance and is determined to take flight before her next birthday. Candid and determined, “B” is holding on to her dreams about flying, something she has been able to do since before she could crawl.
Set in B’s backyard in Nebraska, a tall, whimsical tree grows strong from the ground, housing her imaginative airplane (designed by Luciana Stecconi). She spends much of her time in her magical world learning how to fly. As “B” lives her days trying to fly with the help of her Wing Man (Calvin McCullough) and Sound Op (James Konicek), she exudes the power of believing, even when adults who have lost their imagination try to ground her.
Along the way, “B” meets a mystical creature, “A” (Pamela Christian), whom she excitedly connects to Amelia Earhart during their visit with one another. “A” is a breath of fresh air in “B’s” world and soon the two are setting their fears aside and finding comfort and inspiration in one another. As “A” and “B” learn how to communicate through physical and visual interactions, the audience is taken on a sensational flight.
Directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer, When She Had Wings is a beautiful story that leaves the viewer with hope for dreaming, no matter what age.
- Imagination Stage recommends When She Had Wings for ages 5 and up and we agree.
- Catch When She Had Wings until November 1, 2015 with performances at 10:30 a.m. (weekdays), 1:30 and 4:00 p.m. (weekends) and select 11:00 a.m. Saturday performances. The show is 65 minutes with no intermission.
- There will be a Sensory-Friendly performance on October 11th at 11:00 a.m., ASL-interpreted on October 11th at 4:00 p.m. There will also be a special Saturday night performance on October 24th at 7:00 pm. with fun activities courtesy of the KID Museum. Finally, there will be a Halloween Costume Parade on October 31st at 4:00 p.m. Head to Imagination Stage in costume and after the show take photos on stage.
- Tickets are: $10 to $35 and can be purchased via phone at 301-280-1660, online at www.imaginationstage.org or at the Imagination Stage box office.
- Strollers, food and drinks are not permitted inside of the theater.
- Parking is free on Saturday and Sunday in the parking garage right next to the venue. If you do go during the week be sure to bring some change as parking is metered. The closest metro stop is the red line at Bethesda. Take in a bite to eat after (or before) the show and browse the toy store. There are many unique items for sale. The bathrooms are tucked in the back of the building and offer several stalls as well as a baby-changing table.
Photos by Noe Todorovich
Beatrix (‘B’) prepares her makeshift cockpit built in the tree in her backyard for her solo flight. (Maggie Wilder)
Using their imaginations as fuel, ‘B’ and ‘A’ take a short trip down memory lane together to Gallagher’s Pasture, Ireland. (L-R:Maggie Wilder, Pamela Christian)