Flying high in Eastleigh

Grounded, a one-woman play starring Lucy Ellinson, comes to the Point in Eastleigh on Tuesday.
Grounded, a one-woman play starring Lucy Ellinson, comes to the Point in Eastleigh on Tuesday.
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Gate Theatre’s production of Grounded, a one-woman play starring Lucy Ellinson, comes to the Point in Eastleigh on Tuesday as part of the 35-year-old company’s first national tour.

Lucy plays a pregnant F16 fighter pilot, whose career is grounded – quite literally – when she moves into the modern age of aerial warfare.

Sitting in an air-conditioned trailer in Las Vegas, the unnnamed character flies remote-controlled drones over the Middle East.

She struggles through 12-hour shifts far from the battlefield, hunting terrorists by day and being a wife and mother by night.

She says: ‘My character is a really strong woman – she loves combat and fast cars. It is a real treat as an actor to play her.’

With the role has come a lot of research.

‘I have spoken to serving and veteran pilots from the States and the UK, including the first-ever female pilot in the RAF,’ says Lucy.

‘The idea of war as shiftwork behind a computerscreen is a very modern phenomenon and to the military personnel I have spoken to it is still surreal.’

Technical effects feature heavily in the show. The stage is a cube, which has a video floor that projects footage and colours.

‘I cannot actually see out of the cube but the audience can see me. It is like a one-way mirror,’ says Lucy.

‘The play is about watching people, so this is an added layer to the performance.’

Directed by Christopher Haydon, the tour follows sell-out runs at both the Edinburgh Festival and Gate Theatre, and a run in Washington DC where it garnered positive reviews.

Christopher says: ‘As a small pub theatre we rarely get to share our work widely so to tour the country is a perfect way to showcase what we do.’

Grounded by Gate Theatre is on at The Point on Tuesday, November 18 at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £12, £10 for concessions. Call 023 8065 2333 or visit thepointeastleigh.co.uk.

Grounded is suitable for ages 14 and above.