The Mechanicals present George Brant’s award-winning one-hander Grounded, directed by Christopher Weare and starring Mikkie-dene le Roux, at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from 4 to 28 November at 8.15pm nightly and matinees on Saturdays at 5.30pm.
This topical and exceptional play has amassed several accolades, which includes a Fringe First award at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival and the National New Play Network’s 2012 Smith Prize, and is currently running on numerous world stages.
The media have raved about the work. A Younger Theatre described it as “Theatre at its most powerful and relevant” and FringeReview said, “Must be seen … a play with a political point, but told with such depth and feeling that it becomes a thing of beauty.”
Grounded seamlessly blends the personal and the political by telling the story of a hot-rod F16 fighter pilot whose unexpected pregnancy ends her career in the sky. Repurposed to flying remote-controlled drones in Afghanistan from an air-conditioned trailer (known as the chair force) in the Nevada Deserts in Las Vegas, the pilot struggles through surreal 12-hour shifts far from the battlefield, hunting terrorists by day and being a wife and mother by night.
Widely regarded as a tour-de-force play Grounded flies from the heights of lyricism to the shallows of workaday existence, targeting our assumptions about war, family, as well as challenging our ideas about how private we can all be in a public world of hidden CCTV cameras. As the pressure to track a high-profile target mounts, the boundaries begin to blur between the desert in which she lives and the one she patrols half a world away. This powerful story engages on many levels – a woman in a supposed man’s world is just one such example. The climax is arresting and the experience challenges our daily perception of our world today.
Earlier this year Mikkie-dene le Roux was nominated for a Fleur Du Cap Best Actress award for her performance. After graduating from UCT’s Drama Department in 2010 she joined The Mechanicals Collective, appearing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mephisto, The Real Inspector Hound, A Lie of the Mind, House of Usher and Lovborg’s Women. In Lovborg’s Women she received rave press reviews.
Director Christopher Weare, Distinguished Teacher recipient and Emeritus Professor (UCT), is a founder member on The Mechanicals’ Collective. For the collective he has directed The Bear, The Proposal, Decadence, Lovborg’s Women, The Zoo Story, Cowboy Mouth, House of Usher, Frank ‘N Stein, Mephisto, The Birthday Party, Buried Child and Murderer.
In 2012 he received the Fleur Du Cap Life Time Achievement Award, is also well-known as the founder of The Intimate Theatre from 2002 till it closed down in 2014. Weare’s 14-year collaboration with Alan Committie has produced one of the most successful brands of comedy on the South African stage. Amongst his celebrated productions for independent managements are Vigil, Same Time Next Year, An Audience with Emily Hobhouse and Elizabeth, Almost by Chance a Woman.
For the Baxter Theatre he directed the award-winning East (1990), Robin Levetan hit-production Skyf (1984/5) and People Are Living There (1995). He won a Fleur Du Cap Best Supporting Actor Award for his role as Hal in the Baxter production of Kvetch (1988).
Brant’s work has been produced internationally by some famous theatres such as the Gate Theatre of London and the Traverse Theatre of Edinburgh. His plays have been developed by diverse enterprises including the Kennedy Center and the Contemporary Drama Festival of Hungary. The play is currently running in various venues in the USA as well as in Dusseldorf, Munster, Tel Aviv and in London and now it comes to Cape Town at the Baxter. It is presented by arrangement with DALRO (Pty) Limited.
Grounded previews on 4 and 5 November, opens on 6 and runs until 28 November at 8.15pm nightly with matinees on Saturdays 7, 14, 21 and 28 November at 5.30pm.
Tickets cost R80 (Mondays and Tuesdays) and R120 (Wednesdays to Saturdays) and booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.
For discounted corporate or group block bookings, fundraisers or charities contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or email [email protected] or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or email her at [email protected] during office hours.