Today’s generation has grown up with our country at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Two wars that have divided the country and raised questions on the true reasons behind these fights.
Spangled explores what America in 2020 would be like if the military draft was reinstated. How would the youth of 2020 react if they were subjected to the first military draft since the Vietnam War? Brother and sister duo Max and Christina Lundgren explores these themes and others as they tell this story through the lyrics of Lennon, Cohen, Dylan, Mitchell and O’Brien.
I spoke with Christina Lundgren about her show Spangled as she and her brother Max put the finishing touches on their show. For more information on the show visit their Fringe site.
Where did the inspiration for this show come from?
Inspiration for this show has been building for years and came out of discussions in our family about how we were at war, but we felt no personal sacrifice. My brother and I grew up with our country at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, it was hard for us to imagine the costs for Americans serving in our military and all of the people in the countries where the wars were being fought. Although the government was trying to prevent a recession, it was surreal to be told, don’t worry “go shopping.” This was hard to reconcile, especially when compared with the wars we studied in school, in America’s history.
This contrast seemed like it could make a powerful story. However, we soon realized that we really could not imagine the unimaginable costs of war, so we tried to think about how our lives would be different if there had been a draft. That turned into the story that became “Spangled.”
Other significant inspirations were Tim O’Brien’s book: “Going After Cacciato,” and a theater class my brother, Max, and I took at the U of MN, taught by T. Mychael Rambo.
What challenges are you presented with when preparing for a Fringe Show, versus a show with a longer run?
Knowing there is a huge amount of work going into doing only five performances, but finding motivation in experimenting and thinking that the story could be expanded and performed elsewhere.
What do you hope the audiences take from this show?
It is a drama and we hope to present a gripping story for the audience.
When you originally submitted for the Fringe lottery, was Spangled the show you intended to perform or did the show change?
Yes, we had at least three very different possibilities. But around May, time forced us to choose.
How would you describe Spangled to someone interested in coming to the show?
Spangled is an original story we tell with dialogue, and with music that will be very familiar to the audience. However, we have developed unique arrangements which feature male and female voice, cello and guitar, and include driving rhythms, flamenco, and Middle Eastern modes.
Together, the music and dialogue propel and define the drama of a brother and sister, Leo and Jess Howard, whose views on duty, freedom and responsibility are brought into sharp conflict by the return of America’s military draft in the year 2020.
Here is the opening from our show