Eight Fringe Firsts were awarded in week one of the festival, with half of them coming from the Traverse Theatre, including Grounded. The timing of the haul is a fitting tribute to the Traverse, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Grounded had previously won the 2012 Smith Prize for a new play on American political themes. Brant’s play is a surreal and sometimes disturbing portrait of a female F16 fighter pilot in the US Airforce. Returning to work after a period of maternity leave ‘The Pilot’ finds herself seconded to operate unmanned drones from a grey concrete bunker in Nevada, a young mother commuting into a remote-controlled theatre of war.
Grounded is an unflinching treatment of the political and psychological implications of war fought by proxy and mediated by technology. It will transfer to London’s Gate Theatre after its Edinburgh run, and has already secured one five-star notice in the Evening Standard.
It is also worth noting that the playscript for Grounded includes the most incredible character description we’ve ever come across:
a woman in her mid-to-late 30s. She should have no allergies or asthma after 12 years of age, distant vision of at least 20/200 but corrected to 20/20, and near vision of 20/40 but corrected to 20/20. She should have a sitting height of between 2 foot 9 inches and 3 foot 4 inches, and a vertical standing height of between 5 foot 4 inches and 6 foot 5 inches tall. She should possess normal color vision and meet other physical weight requirements, with no more than 32% body fat. She should be able to complete a 1.5 mile-run in 13 minutes and 56 seconds or less, as well as complete 50 sit-ups and 27 push-ups in a timed test of one minute each. She should have graduated at the top of her class and have a well-rounded education. She should possess heightened situational awareness.