On Saturday, Oct. 30, The Cherokee High School theater program retold the infamous story of Amelia Earhart, a zealous pilot who broke many records and became an idol for many women around the world. The Cherokee Players produced and performed the marvelous show for countless audience members here and at Milton High School, where they competed and received 3rd place from all three judges.
The story is told from within the cockpit of Amelia’s plane on her first solo flight across the Atlantic; during the trip and her last moments alive, ghosts from her past come back to haunt her as she relives fragments of memories. The play begins with a scene between Amelia and her little sister, Muriel. The two recite a poem from their childhood and discuss the current family corrals.
The girl’s father, Edwin Earhart, is an alcoholic who fears flying; however, Amelia looked up to her father when he was not drinking. The two discuss the beauty of the moon, when he states the iconic line, “If you fall from a high place, land somewhere higher.”
Their mother juxtaposes their father by being openly adventurous. She encouraged her daughters to have fun and never succumb to society’s idea of what a woman should be. Clearly, Amy Earhart played a leading role in why Amelia became the courageous role model she was.
Smutts and Curly are reporters who often show up for the many important events in the play that involve Amelia’s progress as a flyer. The spunky character of Neta Snook is introduced, and the audience immediately feels a connection to the mighty pilot who taught Amelia how to fly.
Rudy Lorenzo also makes an appearance to hate on Amelia and Snook for appearing “too masculine” and state they should not be allowed to fly. However, haters like Rudy do not bring the iconic pair down-they only inspire them to fly higher and faster. Snook stands up to Rudy, proving she deserves a place as a pilot, just like any man.
Back in the cockpit, Amelia is overcome with a somber memory of the day Snook decided to quit piloting forever. Snook tells Amelia a story of the day she almost died flying and took the event as a sign to quit, get married and start a family. Disheartened and angry, Amelia feels her best friend is making a mistake and does not support her decision.
Publicist G.P. Putman and his right-hand man, Fourstones, look through countless women applicants, aspiring to create the next Charles Lindbergh, for he was the first pilot ever to fly solo across the the Atlantic. The men judge Amelia for her appearance, specifically her tooth gap, but they know she shines above all others and inevitably choose her.
Mary B is a young girl dreaming of the day she becomes as powerful and free as her idol Amelia Earhart; she even uses it as a silly excuse to get out of doing chores. Suddenly, Amelia’s plane crashes nearby, and when she asks for a map, Mary B bursts with excitement. Amelia reassures her that chores are not feminine, and even distinguished women do them.
Eager to get her name out there, Elinor Smith, a very talented young pilot, visits G.P. to discuss a possible job opening. G.P., afraid that another woman will outshine Amelia, offers her a contract to be a mechanic. Disgusted at the proposal, Elinor, knowing she’s better, lashes out, stating Amelia is a phony and did not even pilot on her most famous flight.
Amelia is upset when she hears G.P. dismissed Elinor because she is the competition. She tells him she is tired of being his cash machine, and she wants to fly. Far.
Amelia Earhart’s last flight is anything but smooth; the ghost of Bill Stultz constantly reminds her of the technical issues happening within the plan. Countless other memories come back to haunt her, reminding her of all her lowest moments. From the times her father came home drunk to beat her mother, to the day Elinor Smith declarers her a phony.
Smutts delivers the horrible news that Amelia’s plane was lost, and hearts break around the world, including Mary B’s. The last scene of the play gives hope to the audience when Mary B picks up Amelia’s scarf and puts it around her neck, representing the legacy Amelia left and the inspiration she was to women everywhere.
The cast and crew have worked incredibly hard for months to put on this spectacular show. The Cherokee Players are especially proud of the message the play brings and how it can impact its viewers.
What did you take away from playing Amelia Earhart?
Playing a historic character required a lot of research, and I learned that her story is a lot more complicated than it seems. It’s was really hard to act that because it was very dynamic and touching.
(Photo Source: Dr. Burn)
What do you want the audience to take away from this play?
I really want them to know what an inspiration Amelia Earhart was, even through some things aren’t what they seemed. She worked really hard and in the end made everything come true and inspired women.Amelia NeSmith (Smutts)
What scene do you think is the most inspiring?
The most inspiring scene is either the ninety-nine speech that Amelia Earhart gives or the moment G.P. offers her a deal with his company as a pilot.Douglas Mwangi (Fourstones)
CHS is thankful for Dr. Burn’s leadership and the role she plays in these talented students’ lives; the show could not be done without her. Congratulations to our Cherokee Players for another amazing production.