//Co-Written by Lymonté Thomas and Rachel Moore
Vanguard Theatre presented Angels Without Wings by Dr. Jamie Cutler starting on April 21 and going through the 23.
The story followed six women training to be pilots in War World II. At that time, women, people of color, Jews and homosexuals were not part of the United States armed forces, so it was important for this new perspective to have light shed on it. Angels Without Wings focused on the loss, love, dreams and struggles of women in training.
The main character, Lois, portrayed by Gracie Weiss, was Cutler, the writer’s, mother. Other major characters included farm girl Madge (Grace Carleton), a pair of argumentative sisters Sissy (Rachel Washburn) and Peggy (Shelby Johnson), a worried and pregnant Lydia (Quala Cole), and the bubbly and inquisitive Mary Jane (Cora Rogalski). Included in the cast was the stern Major Marcus (Thomas Rinehart) and his flirtatious younger brother Guy Marcus (Dakota Shanes).
Angels Without Wings was portrayed using the live presentations of the actors and the visual presentation of a PowerPoint type presentation and video aspect that played in the background throughout the play. Some of the images that were put on the screen came from Time Magazine and the cast included a Time Magazine reporter named Eric (Eli McCaig) to represent those photos being taken.
The set of the show featured a raised circular platform in the middle of the stage that represented a wishing well that the characters threw coins in. It also functioned to represent the cockpit of the plane as characters were flying. The use of military colors and two tall pillars with the word, “Wasp” painted on them helped remind the audience that the majority of the show took place in barracks. The raised circle centralized the action of the show and helped to bring cast members together in a new dynamic without creating walls.
Angels Without Wings was presented by the Vanguard Theatre in only its second run since being written. This level of new writing and the script being very conversational in tone gave all of the actors an immense opportunity to grow in their field. The women worked hard to understand their characters as well as follow along with the script, which on the surface seemed to lack content. As audience members digest the show after viewing it they will find that the light hearted conversations had to be an escape from the trials of training for war and are then forced to think deeper about the comfort in safety and how easily that can be taken for granted.
The direction of Kevin Shell, the technical direction of Tim Barrington and help of many others made Angels Without Wings a masterpiece and depicted the women pilots of World War II as true heroines. UT Martin was able to welcome playwright, Jamie Cutler to the audience as she watched the legacy of her mother and many other daring women live on through the stage.