Infinithéâtre is privileged to present the world premiere of Alyson Grant's Trench Patterns, the winner of their 2011 Write-On-Q! playwriting contest, from Oct. 23 to Nov.18 at Bain St-Michel. Directed by Guy Sprung, the show stars Patricia Summersett, Diana Fajrajsl, Zach Fraser and James Soares-Correia. Jacqueline is a wounded Canadian Forces combat officer returned from Afghanistan after a mission gone fatally wrong. She is angry, intelligent and funny, traits she uses to keep her mind from the violent events of the day that broke her. Solace comes from ghostlike visitations including her great grandfather, Jacques, a French Montréaler conscripted into World War One and executed for desertion and cowardice. As she recedes into his haunted world, we see her slowly move closer to her own. Director Guy Sprung is delighted with this play from a very exciting Write-On-Q! winner, "First-time playwright Alyson Grant's work is a moving piece of writing about an issue front and centre in the Canadian psyche." For Sprung, Trench Patterns asks the questions; it does not attempt to provide easy answers, "Is there such a thing as a 'just' war and a 'good' soldier? Alyson Grant has given us Jacqueline, a Québécoise heroine who is a metaphor for the soul-searching the whole country should be engaged in. How did a first time playwright write such an entertaining play about such a dark subject?"
Playwright Alyson Grant, Chair of the English Department at Dawson College, was drawn to writing this play while increasingly feeling a media-drenched numbness hearing news about Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and their often troubled readjustments once home, &amp;amp;amp;amp;ldquo;The play takes a very current and complex reality- soldiers back among us after their time in Afghanistan- and explores the complicated ways in which those who come home broken might heal." She continues, "I was surprised at first to find this funny, sarcastic character making her way onto the page and then helpless as she brought me into some very dark and uncomfortable places." What resonates for Grant are the various issues around these circumstances, "On one level, we have the big questions about war and its effect on the individuals who fight in them, and on the other we have a play about families and the stories that run through them."
"Round-the-clock care and three meals a day- all at the Canadian taxpayers' expense. What's not to be happy about?"- Jacqueline
REACTION FROM PLAYWRIGHT AND ACTOR ARTHUR HOLDEN
From: Arthur Holden
To: Guy Sprung
Subject: Trench Patterns
"Long conversation with Claire about Trench Patterns this morning. We both love what you've done. You've honored Alyson's fierce clarity.The visual aspects are stunning. Your use of the Bain's dimensions and video images to convey depth and institutional desolation - the beautiful repeated figure of the lone orderly, mopping in the distant shadows - has great poignancy without ever lapsing into emotional indulgence. Diana's billowing costume echoes the Afghan woman with just the right lightness of touch. The music haunts but never intrudes.
The performances carry conviction and nuance. Zach's unaffected Jacques contrasts perfectly with his diffident shrink. Diana's mother is persuasive and just a tiny bit irritating - as she should be. The young man carries his moments of terror and confusion with utter conviction.
He doesn't emote. He is.
And then there's Patricia. She is unforgettable. This performance is an order of magnitude above everything else I've ever seen her do.
Which is a tribute to Alyson's writing, and to Patricia's own commitment. But also to you. An actress could be, well... amputated by a role like Jacqueline. She could lapse into frightened half-measures. But Patricia opens herself to this soldier's damaged heart and invests herself completely in the journey. Blood, tears, toil and sweat. Her physicality is breathtaking: the square posture, the T-shirt simultaneously affirming and denying her womanliness, the evolving limp.
8 p.m. Tues. through Saturday, 2 p.m. on Sunday
Students/Seniors/Canadian Forces: $20
Infinithéâtre 6-Packs available (6 tickets for $68)