Last year, I had the pleasure of premiering my one man show Will Rogers Revived at the Fourth Annual Sarasolo Festival and ended up taking home the “Humorist Award”. I will be performing my show again at the Longboat Key Educational Center on December 25 at 3pm, but will not be presenting at the festival this year. However, just as Will Rogers was a big fan of Charles Lindbergh, I am very excited about the Sarasolo Festival entry Charles Lindbergh: A Life In Flight.
While Will Rogers cultivated his career on stage, screen, print, and radio over several years, Charles Lindbergh achieved almost overnight fame after his 33 and a half hour, non-stop flight from New York to Paris. After that, Lindbergh had a few challenges. While his historic flight won him the US Medal of Honor, made him TIME magazine’s first “Man of the Year”, and instantly branded him as a hero, the tragedy of losing his infant son in “the crime of the century” a few years later, as well as the price of fame, guided him toward a life of isolationism and controversy, with many calling him a Nazi sympathizer.
Written and directed by James Rayfield, Charles Lindbergh: A Life In Flight features Tampa Bay Area performer Chris Jackson in the titular role. “The current political situation brought up so many topics that echoed the past,” says Rayfield, “that I was drawn to looking for moments when this had happened before. The more I read about Lindbergh, the more fascinated I became with this complex person. Chris seemed almost ideal to portray the young pilot.”
Just as my Will Rogers Revived performance showcased the relevance of Will’s writings in the Twenties and Thirties, as he spoke to many of the challenges we’re still facing in government and poltics today, the words and activities of Charles Lindbergh are also relevant today, albeit in a quite different way. While Will was a humorist who never met a man he didn’t like, Lindbergh was the poster child for the “America First” movement that opposed involvement in World War II and echoed sentiments of anti-semitism and xenophobia. Drawing on newspaper accounts, speeches, court records, and autobiographies to tell this troubling story, it will likely not be nearly as funny as Will Rogers Revived, however, for history buffs, and for those who like to see how it sometimes repeats itself, will thoroughly enjoy the show.
One of sixteen performances at the Fifth Annual Sarasolo Festival, Charles Lindbergh: A Life In Flight will be presented at the Crocker Memorial Church on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 7pm. Tickets are only 17$ and can be purchased singularly, or with a group ticket for more than one performance, at https://www.sarasolo.org/.