Originally written and performed for the 2015 Kansas City Fringe Festival Logan Black’s autobiographical story of his year in the Iraq War and his teaming with a service dog plays again to Kansas City Metro audiences with added material that captures the audience from his first few words and carries them along through his 70 minute one-man show.
“Bond: A Soldier and His Dog” captivated audiences during the local 11-day KC Fringe Festival last July and spurred the recent UMKC MFA graduate to revisit, revise, and remount his show after adding about 20 minutes of more stories, depth, description. The result, a finely-tuned, focused blend of stories, events, and heat-warming charm that takes the audience as prisoners to his story. From the first words from his re-occurring nightmare through the surprise ending and then talk-back, Black holds the audience in his complete control.
Through the play, the electricity and focus of the audience can be felt. When Black gets to a brief pause, there is absolute silence. Watching him, one can tell that theater magic occurs. Every eye and ear is transfixed on him and his war stories. While his story-telling skills keep the audience’s focus, the subject matter of explaining the perils and daily dangers of war, the back story of his relationship with Diego, his yellow Labrador service partner bring the heart and soul to the show.
From brief expressions in Black’s face and eyes, he knows he controls the audience and his eyes dance with exuberance. His first attempt of writing a solo-acting piece has caught fire in the audience. The fact that he has traveled with the piece signifies that other cities welcomed the piece as enthusiastically as did Kansas City audiences. The show garnered attention in other places and Black said he currently talks with two venues interested in his piece. Black also said that he plans to take the show across the United States to as many venues as possible. The show has a future. Guaranteed, Black could sell this show in Los Angeles, New York City, and about anywhere else there is a theater crowd.
From a liberal point of view, the show is for everyone above 12. Yes, some salty army and marines words and other uses of some “adult” phrases, but they make the story real. And, there is no word in the show that younger students have not heard. A younger viewer would focus on the story of Diego and not the strong language in the dialogue.
Black’s unique play examines the role of the canine units in the service and their handlers. “Bond: A Soldier and His Dog” takes the audience into the horrors of war. But, inside the horrors of war come the relationships built and the coping skills soldiers develop. In this case, the relationship and coping come in the trust formed with a service canine. Diego’s success become Black’s successes. The emotional relationship delivers the heart-warming charm of the year in Iraq.
Logan Black’s play ends this weekend and was sponsored by the Kansas City Creates the parent organization of the Kansas City Fringe Festival. They chose some of the most popular and inspiring works from last summer and remounted them for wider audience support. Black’s piece played last weekend and this one. This production continues April 23 and 24 in the Polsky Theatre in the Carlson Center of the Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. The piece deserves a full house and sell-out crowds. It’s that good. Bond has the right piece and perfect delivery to hold the entire audience by their heart-stings and manipulate them throughout. Even in a large auditorium he would create a living room environment for viewers to feel touched and involved with his story.
“Bond: A Soldier and His Dog” stands out as one of the best local pieces of literature developed in Kansas City this season. The show deserves metropolitan support of all veterans, veteran’s families, artists, theater-lovers, and dog lovers as well. Words cannot explain the heart and soul of this piece. The show deserves notice from the Kansas City artists and viewers.
Black stands alone on stage, but even a small production like this needs a team of behind the scene artists to help create the stage-magic.
“My team is Robin Harman, stage manager; Jessica Shanks, sound; and Josh Austin lights,” Black said in his effort to recognize those who helped make the evening so eventful.
“Bond: A Soldier and His Dog” remains just one example of the talent Kansas City possesses. The show blew away competition at the 2015 Fringe Festival. It needs to be part the one show people see this weekend. The show is fabulous.