Dogfight: The fight to enjoy

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Natasha McCallister
CONTRIBUTOR

The year is 1963 and a group of young soldiers are going to make their last night one worth remembering before deploying to Vietnam. The men are barely out of basic training and are told they are going to be heroes when they return from their mission. With arrogance and ignorance, they search for ugly dates to win the dogfight.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha presents “Dogfight: The Musical,” the profound story that follows young SGT Birdlace, performed by Isaac Glover, and his friends on their last night in San Francisco, where they struggle to understand what it means to be a soldier and a man. The young waitress and aspiring singer Rose, performed by Abby Cameron, falls victim to SGT Birdlace’s trick to go to a club where the dogfight will be. The struggle for Birdlace lies between the pact he made with his fellow marines and understanding what Rose wants from him. If he is not there for his friends before war, how can they expect him to have their back in the middle of war?

“Dogfight” questions what it means to be a person and to have compassion for one another, no matter who you are. In a time when the enemy is supposed to be out on the battlefield, there is an enemy residing at home. This musical also shows how some do not question the consequences of their actions, as dogfight is a competition that dehumanizes a woman for money.

There is a strong balance of both men and women struggles that still resonate today in the musical production, making the audience question who the real monster is.

The songs and the choreography have a 60s rock n’ roll upbeat, classic style. The song lyrics provide the right words to express the right emotions for the audience.

The song I believe that changed the tone of the story is “It’s a Dogfight” performed by Rose and Marcy. Marcy, played by Delaney Jackson, is not as naïve as Rose about what the dogfight is. The differences in how these two women react to being victims of soldiers – who are supposed to be heroes – should not be overlooked.

Jarod Cernousek is a sophomore theatre major at UNO. Cernousek said he wanted to be a part of this show because it offered an opportunity to be one voice of the many themes woven within the story.

“There’s action and romance, but also comedy and laugher,” said Cernousek.

“Dogfight: The Musical” is a deeply moving story with characters who have lessons to learn about life and about themselves.

A production not worth missing, “Dogfight: The Musical” is performing its last weekend at Weber Fine Arts Building at UNO on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and on Oct. 27 at 2:30 p.m. Students who present their MavCARD get in free. Tickets are available online or at the box office inside Weber before the show.

More information can be found at unotheatre.com.

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