Second Thought Theatre Opens 2017 Season with Grounded

Written by George Brandt

Directed by Alex Organ

DALLAS (December 12, 2016) –  Second Thought Theatre opens its gripping 2017 season with the area premiere of Grounded by George Brandt. STT Artistic Director Alex Organ returns to directing for the company for the first time since 2014’s production of Cock. This year he directs the one-woman show portraying a female fighter pilot navigating the clash between a career in the typically masculine world of modern warfare and the more traditional role of wife and mother. Grounded begins with previews on Wednesday, January 11 and runs through Saturday, February 4. All performances of Grounded will take place at Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys Campus, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Tickets to Grounded can be purchased here.

“I have been looking forward to exploring this piece for some time,” said STT Artistic Director Alex Organ. “The play is incredibly multi-faceted in terms of message and relevance. Change is something we’ll explore in every show this season, but in particular, Grounded explores how we navigate dramatic changes in a culture that is evolving faster that we can sometimes process.” In addition, Organ noted, the play also addresses the ethics of modern drone warfare: “The idea that we’ve essentially removed the danger – the possibility of harm to our own forces – from the equation is a question of great moral ambiguity.”

When a fighter pilot at the top of her game is grounded due to an unexpected pregnancy, she is reassigned to operate military drones from a windowless trailer outside Las Vegas. By day, she hunts and kills terrorists. By night, she returns home to domestic life with her husband and daughter.

Jenny Ledel (A Kid Like Jake; Othello; Belleville) tackles the challenging role of the Pilot, a woman who, at the start of the play, is not only existing but also thriving in the traditionally male-dominated world of Air Force fighter pilots by demonstrating immense skill during air combat. As the play progresses, the Pilot experiences an unplanned pregnancy and then a marriage, and is forced to take a desk job – a pilot’s worst nightmare. Finally, she is given the news she’s been reassigned to pilot the latest in Air Force fighter technology – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – which she will maneuver from a Barcalounger in the Nevada desert. A far cry from active duty deployment life, the Pilot must make the taxing transition from 12-hour shifts operating drones and hunting the enemy to returning home at night to tuck her young daughter into bed. Thus, the already impossibly difficult choices she must make from day to day begin to take a toll on her psyche.

“Working on this one-person show, I found have no place to hide,” said Ledel. “You either lean full force into the vulnerability or you run the risk of turning a play into a one long speech. Alex Organ is a dream director, helping me find the uncomfortable or vulnerable place and then the strength to live in it.”

Brian McDonald, head of sound and projections at Dallas Theater Center, makes his Second Thought Theatre debut serving as scenic, sound, and props designer for the play. Aaron Johansen (A Kid Like Jake; The Great God Pan) will design lights.

Grounded opens with previews on Wednesday, January 11 and Thursday, January 12 at 7:30pm. Opening and press night is Friday, January 13 at 8:00pm. The PWYC performances of Grounded  will take place on Wednesday, January 11; Thursday, January 12; Monday, January 16; Monday, January 23; and Monday, January 30 at 7:30p. PWYC tickets are available at the box office one hour prior to the start of the performance and are subject to availability. Discounted tickets for veterans, military, and ex-military members will also be available. Grounded  runs through February 4. Tickets to Grounded are $25 and available now for purchase online.

ABOUT SECOND THOUGHT THEATRE

Second Thought Theatre (STT) provides an intimate and unique theatrical experience by empowering top local theater artists to take risks, and by showcasing writers who boldly tackle the difficult and demanding questions of our rapidly changing world.

Jenny Ledel (Pilot) was born in Fort Worth, TX. She is an alumna of STT with such productions as The Glory of Living, Pluck the Day, Belleville, Othello, and A Kid Like Jake under her belt. She is a member of the Acting Company at Kitchen Dog Theater. Other theatrical credits include Trinity Shakespeare Festival, The Undermain Theatre, WaterTower Theatre, Theatre Three, Kitchen Dog Theatre, Texas Shakespeare Festival, The Dallas Museum of Art, Shakespeare Dallas, and Shakespeare in the Bar. Jenny is a multiple recipient of the DFW Critics Forum Award for Best Actress. Her Film and Television credits include Karma Police, Spider Veins, and One Tree Hill. She is represented by the Mary Collins Agency.

Alex Organ (Director) is the Artistic Director for Second Thought Theatre. At STT he has appeared in Othello (Iago) and Red Light Winter (Davis), and he directed A Behanding in Spokane and Cock. He is a member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at the Dallas Theater Center, where his credits include Constellations, All The Way, A Christmas Carol, Sense and Sensibility, The Rocky Horror Show, Fortress of Solitude, and Fly By Night. Elsewhere in DFW, Alex has been seen at Undermain Theater (The Droll; The Flick; Profanity), Trinity Shakespeare (Julius Caesar; Macbeth; Taming of the Shrew; As You Like It), Theater Three (The Farnsworth Invention), WaterTower Theater (Putting It Together; Little Shop of Horrors), Lyric Stage (The Most Happy Fella), and Shakespeare Dallas (Coriolanus; HamletTwo Gentlemen of Verona; As You Like It). Regionally he has appeared at the Alley Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Elm Shakespeare Festival, and New York’s Epic Theater Ensemble. Alex is a proud member of Actors Equity and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Laura Colleluori (Dramaturg/Asst. Director) is a director, dramaturg, stage manager, and teaching artist based in NYC. Her assistant directing credits include ‘Night, Mother (Echo), A Kid Like Jake (STT), and Deferred Action (DTC). Laura has worked as a stage manager with Cara Mia, CTD, The Actors’ Co., The Drama League, Compagnia Teatrale Cantharide and MBStage Productions, and as a teaching artist with DTC, Lookingglass, Capers for Kids, and the Zola Predosa school district in Bologna, IT. Laura holds a B.A. from Dickinson College, with additional training from Duke University, Yale University, and the University of Bologna. She is a contributing writer for StageAgent.com.

Brian McDonald (Scenic/Sound/Props Designer) is a Dallas based sound designer and is currently head of sound and projections at Dallas Theater Center. He recently sound designed the world premier musical, Bella, An American Tall Tale. Other recent designs at Dallas Theater Center designs include Colossal, The School for Wives, and The Book Club Play (original music). Brian has been Sound Supervisor and Production Audio on numerous world premier musicals including, MOONSHINE: That Hee Haw Musical, Stagger Lee, and The Fortress of Solitude. He previously served as the production manager and technical director for Shakespeare Dallas and Technical Director for The University of North Texas Opera Theater. Brian has an extensive background in recording with a focus on classical music and jazz. As a recording engineer and producer he has releases on Idol Records, GIA, Vandan Records, Elba Records, Drop6 Media, Equilibrium and more. Brian spent several years working in higher education, holding positions at the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University.

Aaron Johansen (Lighting Designer) STT: A Kid Like Jake; The Great God Pan; Martyr; Othello; Bellville; Bull; Booth; Nocturne; Cock; In a Forest, Dark and Deep; Pluck the Day. Other Lighting collaborations include: Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Children’s Theater, Kitchen Dog Theater (Company Member), Cara Mia Theater company, Uptown Players, Stage West Theater, Dallas Summer Musicals: Academy for the performing arts and Trinity Shakespeare Festival to name a few. Follow my work on Instagram @Famoustrendywizard #FTWdesigns. Enjoy the show!

Cheyney Coles (Stage Manager) is overjoyed to be returning to STT after Stage Managing The Great God Pan last season! As a member of the Stage Management Team at Dallas Theater Center, recent credits include: A Christmas Carol 2016 (ASM); Constellations (SM); Dreamgirls (ASM); All the Way (ASM); A Christmas Carol 2015 (ASM); MOONSHINE: That Hee Haw Musical (PA); Medea (ASM); The School for Wives (ASM); A Christmas Carol 2014 & 2013 (PA); The Rocky Horror Show (PA, IMAG); The Fortress of Solitude (PA). She also served as the Stage Manager for the Brierley Resident Acting Company’s Greek Classics workshop with Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis. Shakespeare Dallas: The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (abridged) [revised] (SM). Lyric Stage: Titanic (ASM). Circle Theatre: Too Many Cooks (ASM). Proud member of Actors Equity. Thanks to Drew and Alex for this opportunity and this incredible company! Love to Mom, Dad, Sally and Wylie.

Drew Wall (Technical Director/PM) is currently the Director of Operations for Second Thought Theatre and has been working with the company since 2007. During that time, he has served as an actor, designer, producer, production manager, and resident artist. Second Thought acting credits include Belleville, Nocturne, The Great God Pan, Booth, Red Light Winter, A Behanding in Spokane, The Bombitty of Errors, A Skull in Connemara, The Country Wife, and Lobby Hero. Other (select) credits include Gloria (Dallas Theater Center); Long Way Go Down, Beauty Queen of Leeann, Totalitarians (Kitchen Dog Theater); On The Eve, Defiance (Theater Three); The Dog Problem (Undermain Theater). He is also a freelance carpenter, welder, and designer working for many other local theater and tv/film companies in the DFW area. Drew holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Baylor University, is represented by the Kim Dawson Agency, and also a company member of Kitchen Dog Theater. He would like to thank Abbey Magill, his friends, and family for their constant love and support.

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