Mikkie-dene le Roux Gives Voice to GROUNDED Fighter Pilot at Baxter's Golden Arrow

Mikki-Dene le Roux in GROUNDED
Photo credit: Lex Philotheou

The Mechanicals will present George Brant's award-winning one-hander GROUNDED, directed by Christopher Weare and starring Mikkie-dene le Roux, at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio this November. This topical and exceptional play has amassed several accolades, which includes a Fringe First award at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival and the National New Play Network's 2012 Smith Prize, and is currently running on numerous world stages.

GROUNDED seamlessly blends the personal and the political by telling the story of a hot-rod F16 fighter pilot whose unexpected pregnancy ends her career in the sky. Repurposed to flying remote-controlled drones in Afghanistan from an air-conditioned trailer, a unit known as the chair force, in the Nevada Deserts in Las Vegas, the pilot struggles through surreal 12-hour shifts far from the battlefield, hunting terrorists by day and being a wife and mother by night.

Widely regarded as a tour-de-force play, GROUNDED flies from the heights of lyricism to the shallows of workaday existence, targeting our assumptions about war, family, as well as challenging our ideas about how private we can all be in a public world of hidden CCTV cameras. As the pressure to track a high-profile target mounts, the boundaries begin to blur between the desert in which she lives and the one she patrols half a world away. This powerful story engages on many levels - a woman in a supposed man's world is just one such example. The climax is arresting and the experience challenges our daily perception of our world today.

Brant's work has been produced internationally by some famous theatres such as the Gate Theatre of London and the Traverse Theatre of Edinburgh. His plays have been developed by diverse enterprises including the Kennedy Center and the Contemporary Drama Festival of Hungary. GROUNDED is currently running in various venues in the USA as well as in Dusseldorf, Munster, Tel Aviv and in London and now it comes to Cape Town at the Baxter.

Mikki-Dene le Roux in GROUNDED
Photo credit: Lex Philotheou

Earlier this year, Mikkie-dene le Roux was nominated for a Fleur Du Cap Theatre Award as Best Actress for her performance in the play last year. After graduating from the University of Cape Town's Drama Department in 2010, Le Roux joined The Mechanicals Collective, appearing in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, MEPHISTO, THE REAL INSPECTOR HOUND, A LIE OF THE MIND, HOUSE OF USHER and LOVBORG'S WOMEN.

Director Christopher Weare, Distinguished Teacher recipient and Emeritus Professor (UCT), is a founder member on The Mechanicals Collective. For the collective, he has directed THE BEAR, THE PROPOSAL, DECADANCE, LOVBORG'S WOMEN, THE ZOO STORY, COWBOY MOUTH, HOUSE OF USHER, FRANK 'N STEIN, MEPHISTO, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, BURIED CHILD and MURDERER. In 2012, he received the Fleur Du Cap Life Time Achievement Award, and he is also well-known as the founder of The Intimate Theatre in 2002, which he ran until its closure in 2014. Weare's 14-year collaboration with Alan Committie has produced one of the most successful brands of comedy on the South African stage. Amongst his celebrated productions for independent managements are VIGIL, SAME TIME NEXT YEAR, AN AUDIENCE WITH EMILY HOBHOUSE and ELIZABETH, MOSTLY BY CHANCE A WOMAN. For the Baxter Theatre he directed the award-winning EAST, Robin Levetan's hit-production SKYF and PEOPLE ARE LIVING THERE. He won a Fleur Du Cap Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actor playing Hal in the Baxter production of KVETCH.

GROUNDED previews on 4 and 5 November, opens on the following night and runs until 28 November at 20:15 nightly, with matinees on Saturdays at 17:30. Tickets cost R80 - R120 and booking is online through Computicket, telephonically on 0861 915 8000, or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. For discounted corporate or group block bookings, fundraisers or charities contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993. GROUNDED is presented by arrangement with DALRO (Pty) Limited.

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