“Fly” Gives Heroic Story Wings
It is safe to say you have never seen anything quite like “Fly.”
“Fly” is about the fabled Tuskegee Airman of WWII. Recruited to be pilots in the Army Air Corp, their central mission was to escort and protect Allied heavy bombers on their missions, especially those over Germany, Italy and other European countries challenged by the Nazi’s. The Tuskegee airman primarily flew the difficult P-51 Mustang, a long-range, high altitude, high performance fighter-bomber that took expert piloting skills.
“Fly” shows the painful training environment the early Tuskegee Airman had to endure. They were expected to exhibit high academic, military and training performance, which the majority of them did. But they enjoyed practically none of the Officer’s privileges their white counterparts had and they were completely segregated and mostly disrespected. However, with all those obstacles and blatant mistreatment, the overall record of the Tuskegee Airman was still among the very best in the history of the Army Air Corp. They were highly decorated, had amazing mission completeness and contributed mightily to the success of the Allies.
What makes “Fly” standout, in addition to its excellent, passionate cast and historic story, is it’s very ambitious multimedia staging. The use of video and special lighting design are highly effective. A tap-dancing narrator, called The Tap Griot (griot is French for a West African storyteller), accents the dramatizing, plus the cast member playing the Griot, Omar Edwards, does an excellent Savion Glover turn with his tapping.
“Fly” has a finale that brings the audience to its feet. The narrator, who really only speaks a few lines, should have had more to say or just let his dancing speak for him completely. “Fly” is a brave, highly creative play that makes a big impression. It is a fitting and meaningful tribute to the Tuskegee Airman.