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'Grounded' at Red Stitch Actors Theatre

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by Elizabeth Quinn (subscribe)
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Female F16 Fighter Pilot takes Flight at Red Stitch
Grounded is a brilliantly ambiguous word. As a personal attribute, it implies emotional stability, common sense and lack of pretension. It also describes what happens to you when your mum finds out you've been smoking ciggies in the woodshed and tossing the butts into her prized begonias.

And then there's the literal meaning: to be earthbound. For a highly-trained F16 fighter pilot, this is professional limbo and personal torture: a punishment meted out in response to reckless or unprofessional behaviour. Unless you're a female fighter pilot.

Kate Cole

Kate Cole plays the part of the female fighter pilot in Grounded at Red Stitch Theatre. The audience is never told her name, but her story is such a gripping tale that we don't even realise this omission until much later when we have all gone home to our comfortable earthbound existences.

The pilot is the narrator and sole performer on a stage that is shaped like a box and entirely without props. And yet the audience is utterly engaged within minutes of the pilot's swaggering arrival onstage through to the emotional devastation of her final scene.

We are invited into the world of these über-trained rock stars of the sky. These ego-driven risk takers are a tight bunch who work and play hard. Our girl is the only female in the group and doesn't she just love it. Until she falls pregnant and her world starts to shift.

The pilot's narrative takes some unpredictable turns and the audience is taken along for a wild and fascinating ride that is enhanced by the inspired sound and lighting production. The combination of a brilliant script and superb acting makes Grounded a must-see. And Kate Cole is a revelation: watch this space ladies and gentlemen.
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When: June 11 to July 12 2014
Phone: 03 9533 8083
Where: Red Stitch Actors Theatre Rear 2 Chapel St St Kilda East 3183
Cost: $20 - $39
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