By Ezekiel McAdams
Sept 13 2017
Live Five's first production of the season is Grounded by George Brant. The play previews Thursday Sept 21, opens on the 22nd and runs till Oct 1.
This production is by Pegasus Projections, an ad hoc company, that was specifically mounted to produce this play. Kate Herriot produces the play through the company along with playing the main character, an unnamed fighter pilot.
It's a one woman show that deals with themes of motherhood and identity as a backdrop to military and modern warfare after the character goes from a fighter pilot to flying military drones.
The play is directed by Gordon Portman with the set designed by S.E. Grummett, and Bryon Hnatuk, stage managed by Emma Thorpe.
The production team is excited as this play allows them to challenge themselves with both a single performer but also the technique of projection mapping which has never been used in the Refinery space before. There will be video projected on several screens as a visual backdrop to the performer. "In our opinion, our humble opinion, at Pegasus Productions, we wanted to focus more on the performer telling a story, the way theatre does best, without making it to much of a spectacle visually, but we wanted to use projections like some musicians create a score for a piece, we wanted to have a visual score." Kate Herriot said.
Portman thought of Herriot for the character, the unnamed, The Pilot, which was flattering to her, and while Herriot would rather do ensemble pieces, what drew her to this was the material. "What sold me, was that even though it's a story about war, and it gets very, very deep into that experience, the bigger picture of the play, it's a human story about a young mother and I immediately could relate to so many of the things she experiences on the inside, even though I've never been a fighter pilot, I've never had a child, I've never physically done the things she's done, there was something about her defiance and her courage that I was immediately hooked into." Herriot recalled.
For Herriot, the rehearsal process has been a challenge, but a welcome one. "You show up for rehearsal, you are on the whole time, and then you go home and you're exhausted. It required a lot more of me as a performer." Herriot said. The thing that has surprised her the most during the rehearsal process was discovering how important the relationship between her character and the audience was. "For this show, she is there in real time, if someone laughs, she will tell her next joke to that same person, she's feeding off their energy. It's been a little strange pretending that I have an audience, I'm really looking forward to have a room full of people." Herriot said.
It is this audience reaction, that Herriot is most excited for. Live Five is having an After Play, on the Saturday and Sunday performances, audiences are encouraged to stick around and discuss amongst themselves with a community moderator. "Another reason, I'm really exited is I get to really connect with the audience, they're bringing all this baggage, just like I'm bringing all this work and character's baggage. Hopefully I get to talk to all them afterward." She said.
The play's unnamed Pilot, was interesting for Herriot and Portman, as this play, doesn't really reflect on the character's gender. "All the research I've done, all the women have said, my gender doesn't come into as it's such a precise skill. In real life, the plane doesn't see a gender. There's plenty of plays that do deal with gender in military, how do I refer to it, I've been talking to my director about it, if you take a really, really, excellent sport car and put it into a drag race. She's highly trained and then put in a windowless trailer and given a joystick to fly a drone with. It's this demoralizing identity shift and that has a psychological effect on her." Herriot said.
Grounded can be seen at the Refinery from Sept 21-Oct 1. Check Livefive.ca for show times. Tickets can be bought at the box office or livefive.ca
"Whatever you think you know about motherhood, whatever you think you know about modern warfare, you haven't seen anything like what this woman goes through. It's worth experiencing just to have a window into what this life looks like." Herriot said.