100 Planes – Review

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Set in 1997, long before LGBTQ peoples could serve openly in the United States Services, Lila Rose Kaplan’s minor play, 100 PLANES, deals with a driven Air Force Lieutenant at an Air Force base in Germany. Young Lt. Kay McClure (Alina Rose Chock) is desperate to be allowed to fly a new plane, a hybrid fighter jet. But at that time, women are not allowed to fight in combat and, thus were generally ignored in such training. But Lt. McClure will not be put off and puts herself up for advancement by dogging Major Anne Clarkson (Karen Harrison), making sure she knows how important flying this jet would be a career for a career – and for the thrills as well.

Major Clarkson is a stickler for accuracy and internal drive and as much as
she’d like the young Lieutenant to succeed, she is too dogmatic and too pushy,
demonstrating emotional overkill which has washed-out several other potential
female pilots before. Plus, as a closeted lesbian, in an unsteady relationship
with a civilian who works for the Major’s immediate supervisor, Monique
DuPont (Brittany Flurry), she can’t see the damage she is creating on her
mentee.

But complicating everything is a handsome young reporter, David Greene
(Brennan Patrick), newly in love with this hotshot pilot, who follows her to
Germany and sets in motion a suspenseful ending.

So, two couples trying to create loving futures with each other, as well as
forging military careers for females then and in years to come.

Kaplan’s play, at 80-minutes or so, is rather too abrupt and, after having made
the production’s debut over two weekends in April, in Austin, Texas, feels raw
and incomplete here in its West Coast showing. I would guess that another
swipe at the writing would allow it to be more organic, filling us in on missing
details on the private lives and the political awareness of what this quartet
represented two decades ago.

Having a next-to-nothing budget hasn’t helped the look of the piece, although
director Elizabeth V. Newman’s handling of the pace and of her actors does
keep us attended to the plot, such as it is. All four of the performers were up
to snuff, each mostly delineating their characters’ needs carefully.


“100 Planes”
runs only two more weekends, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
@ 8pm, Sundays @5:00pm through August 4th at the Broadwater Black Box,
6322 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90038. Tickets: 512.496.5208 or at
www.filigreetheratre@gmail.com.