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History Lesson

August 17, 2017

Our season special, Decision Height by Meredith Dayna Levy, opens four weeks from today! This show is truly unique for the Bobcat Players for many reasons. First and foremost, Decision Height is a historical drama with twelve different songs and an all-female cast. Though the characters are fictional, the events are all based in truth. Additionally, we are also using this incredible show to fundraise for the Yellow Ribbon Girls, a local non-profit formed by women with the main goal of supporting our troops overseas. Opening night proceeds will be donated directly to the Yellow Ribbon Girls and we will also collect supplies throughout the run of the show.

 

As a member of the play-reading committee for the Bobcat Players, I was immediately drawn to Decision Height. It is unlike anything we've done on our stage and it tells such an important story. However, it wasn't until we began rehearsals that I realized how much of this show was based on reality. And it's truly a shame that I didn't know anything about these women's amazing contributions to our country. So, for those that are curious like me, I've compiled a list of highlights that will help give you more background on the history behind Decision Height and the WASP:

  • The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were the first females to fly American military aircraft. These women served at home so that the men could go overseas for World War II. Only 1,074 women earned their Silver Wings, becoming a part of the WASP, but over 25,000 applied. More information can be found here and here.

  • Avenger Field was the WASP training base in Sweetwater, Texas. There, licensed female civilian pilots learned to fly everything from trainers to the new B-29 Superfortress. The purpose of their training was to teach them how to fly military aircraft in order to ferry them from factory to shipping point and also fly damaged planes back for repair on occasion.

  • The WASP were considered civilian employees during the war and did not receive military benefits until 1977 after special legislation was passed. The Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor, was awarded to the WASP in 2010 by President Barack Obama.

  • The WASP return to the former site of Avenger Field each year on the Saturday before Memorial Day. In 2017, 11 WASP made the trip. Their homecoming, now in its 12th annual year, is hosted by the National WASP WWII Museum and features aircraft demonstrations, meet and greet, dinner, and a memorial service for those who passed in preceding year. The Commemorative Air Force Rise Above Headquarters says that one of the greatest moments is the WASP's return to the wishing well, which was an iconic part of Avenger Field.

In pursuit of our own history lesson, the majority of the cast visited the Air Heritage Museum on Saturday, August 12. We were very fortunate to be given the chance to explore firsthand the aircraft of the period and are lucky to have this local treasure. The knowledgeable Greg Werking let us climb through a C-47 that was built in 1943 and even sit in the cockpit. He impressed upon us how truly skilled pilots of that time really were and how much physical strength it would have taken for these women to fly. Both the Bobcat Players and the cast of Decision Height are so thankful for the great resource we have found in the Air Heritage Museum.

Tickets are on sale now for Decision Height for only $10 each. You can purchase tickets online, in person at the Hostess Gift Shoppe in Beaver, or reserve by calling our box office at (724) 494-1680. Decision Height runs September 14-17 and with only four performances, we encourage you to get your tickets as soon as possible!

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