Warhawks and Lindberghs | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Warhawks and Lindberghs

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Warhawks and Lindberghs, Shattered Globe Theatre. Playwright Jim McDermott obviously took some small liberties in order to condense three decades of the tumultuous life of American aviator Charles Lindbergh into a compact dramatic package. The problem with WarHawks and Lindberghs, however, lies not in the accuracy of its re-creations but in McDermott's refusal to assess Lindbergh's life. Was he ripped apart by the media or a victim of his own hubris? An ignorant dope or misguided dupe? McDermott never offers any convincing answers to the many questions he raises. Instead the play wanders about aimlessly, revealing little direction and even less conscience.

In stark contrast is Shattered Globe's production: the company seems willing to do almost anything to breathe life into this script, supplying lavish costumes, overcooked histrionics, and multimedia effects. Some of their attempts--like Michael Weber and Brian Johnson's imaginative sound design--help give the otherwise hollow proceedings some much-needed texture and an air of authenticity. The rest--like Steve Key's shadow-puppet designs, used to draw a parallel between Lindbergh and the foolish Icarus--only add unneeded complexity to a diffuse script. And except for one brilliant performance by Doug McDade as FDR, none of the actors adds much to the play's caricatures and stereotypes. Ultimately WarHawks and Lindberghs has even less to offer than the revisionist histories that have ignored Lindbergh's fascist and racist leanings entirely. --Nick Green

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