Decision Height, by Meredith Dayna Levy, performed by Hollins University is an incredible story of a group of women training to be Women Air Force Service Pilots (W.A.S.Ps) during World War II. The show incorporated army marching cadences transformed into songs to empower the women. The lyrics were sometimes funny but always a reminder of the characters’ circumstances. Having the actors changing the scenes while singing these songs created an interesting way to not only move the plot forward, but also give a sense of the group dynamic of the W.A.S.P women.
Before the show, the audience is introduced to a realistic and gorgeous fountain in the middle of the stage. Within the first few minutes, the fountain transformed into crucial pieces of the set, indeed being the center of Avenger Field. The tin walls of the set were a stunning reference to the bays and hangars of the Air Force base without overcrowding the stage.
Costumes were historically accurate, including wonderful use of colors to express the characters’ individual personalities. From the first time you see the characters, you can tell that Carol will be a bundle of energy in her bright, warm colors, but Norma Jean would be prim, proper, and in charge.
What could have been an engaging use of modern technology in their use of projections instead felt awkward, especially when the screen sat between an actor and the audience. Important scenes involving the fountain became cheesy with the choices made in projections and sound.
Regardless of plot shortcomings, this play is funny, with witty dialogue and endearing characters. Set in World War II, there are of course heart-wrenching scenes. But even as tears roll down your cheeks, the cast will entice a laugh from you soon after.