By George Brant
Co-developed with Robert Richmond
Photos by Gabe Crawford
Grounded, a one-woman shows about a fighter pilot who has to adjust with becoming a drone pilot and a mother, was a profoundly unique challenge given that the project was not only my first foray into solo shows, but also something the primary director, Robert Richmond, wanted to conceive as a production that could be packed up in a suitcase and toured. For Grounded, collaboration between all design departments and the single actor was absolutely paramount, and in no other project has so much discussion of the design occurred within the regular rehearsal time. Keeping everyone on the same page was an absolute must.
The main task of directing this piece was cultivating a sort of landscape in the single 60-page monologue of the show’s text. We used projections, light, and sound with maximum strategic care and timing to deliver a focused, controlled build over the course of the play that held our sold-out audiences’ attention from the start of the play, where our protagonist entered on a lift from above like a Greek God from the Machine, to the end, when the lift rose again and escorted our heroine back to the heavens. Grounded showed everyone who collaborated on it the amount of people that go into a single person onstage.
"...For nearly an hour and a half, with no intermission, the remarkable young performer [Brooke] Smith struggled with frustration, rage, fatigue, paranoia, love, compassion, delusion and PTSD as convincingly as any pro twice her age..."
--Free Times Columbia
Director: Robert Richmond & Ryan Stevens
Set Designer/ Projection Designer: Tamara Joksimovic
Costume Designer: April Traquina
Lighting Designer: Megan Branham
Production Stage Manager: Charlotte Zuraw
Sound Designer: Lindsey Sheehan