The Pilot lives for adventure. The Pilot lives for her Tiger Moth plane. The Pilot lives for the exhilaration of being a badass. But mostly, the Pilot lives for the blue.
“You are the blue.
You are alone in the vastness and you are the blue.”
The Pilot is Alison Van Reeken (Caucasian Chalk Circle, Blithe Spirit) and she is phenomenal. Her performance is gutsy and the character full of machismo and confidence. After flying in the powerful position of Air Force number one, the Pilot feels uncomfortable drinking at a bar like a civilian. She gets chatted up by an almost too civilian guy and of course, one thing leads to another. This is the first time she is grounded.
She feels weighed down by her dependable lover, declaring her love to the audience…”Ah, f**k.” After a while it’s not just her new partner weighing her down, but the very physical weight of a baby. She takes her foetus on one last trip into the blue and is grounded for a second time.
After raising her child the Pilot yearns for the blue and eagerly returns to the Air Force with an exuberance that is almost infectious. She’s champing at the bit and struggles to hide her consternation and frustration when being relegated to the Drone squad – derisively named the ‘Chair Force.”
Mother and wife by night and morning and Drone pilot annihilating ‘military-aged males’ on tv screens that render the remote deserts grey by day. Van Reeken’s portrayal of the Pilot’s downward spiral as she questions her identity, her motivation and her sanity is moving. Grounded challenges the notion of the bored housewife – the decision between motherhood and working woman is heightened as she realises she can have it all, but at what cost?
Grounded is thrilling and compelling, the Pilot’s obsessive need to stay on for ‘just one more’ hour is reminiscent of the late night gamer, who just needs to join one more skirmish or raid, sitting in a darkened room with the only light a sluggish blue glow bathing their face. Questioning how warfare has changed, how families have changed and how our virtual world connects us in an unprecedented fashion, Grounded will thrust you onto the edge of your seat and keep you there.
When: 13th September – 1st October 2016
Where: The Blue Room Theatre, Northbridge PERTH
Tickets: $18 – $28
Information: Duration 85 mins no interval; AUSLAN performance 20th September; Q&A after the show Wednesdays 21st and 28th September
About Laura Money
Is an avid theatre goer, reader, art gallery guide and museum enthusiast. She enjoys all aspects of theatre, from the deep and meaningful to the whimsical and kitsch. As lover of all things in the world of humanities, she is very proud of the vibrant art scene in Perth. It truly is an exciting place to be!
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