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Gate presents American Lives

Published 18 June 2013

The Gate theatre will present three award-winning plays by US playwrights exploring the very different ways in which we make a living as part of the Notting Hill venue’s new season These American Lives.

The UK premiere of George Brant’s Grounded will open proceedings later this summer, followed by Ethan Lipton’s No Place To Go and Dan O’Brien’s The Body Of An American, with each one taking “an acerbic, political and highly entertaining look at the different ways we make a living,” according to the theatre’s Artistic Director Christopher Haydon.

Grounded, a visceral and absorbing look at the life of a female fighter pilot who switches from flying F16 Jets to piloting Reaper Drones over Pakistan, will star Lucy Ellinson following her appearances at the venue in Trojan Women and Tenet.

Playing from 28 August to 21 September, following a season at the Traverse theatre as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Haydon will direct the compulsive drama about balancing a life hunting terrorists by day and being a wife and mother by night.

No Place To Go, set after the financial crash and featuring band Ethan Lipton & His Orchestra, who originally produced the piece of cabaret theatre for New York’s legendary Public Theater, will play from 15 November to 14 December and offer a very different perspective on working life.

Described by New York Magazine as New York’s “Best lounge act”, the band will tell the story of Ethan after his office is relocated to Mars, his job is lost and he has nowhere to go. Part love letter to his co-workers, part protest to company and country, the eccentric production was described by The New York Times as “a show for anyone who has stayed up nights worrying that life might go into freefall, and for those of you who walk through your waking hours to the sound of an imaginary soundtrack, even without earbuds.”

The UK premiere of O’Brien’s Edward M Kennedy Award-winning The Body Of An American, which features the real life story of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Paul Watson, will conclude the season from 16 January to 1 February. Set in Mogadishu in 1993, the story tells the tale of an unusual relationship between a photographer and a writer; questioning how you stay sane when your job is to document the horrors of war as the two, as yet unconfirmed, actors jump between more than 20 roles.

Explaining why the season’s theme appealed to the theatre, Haydon said: “For many people a job is far more than a way of warding off the bailiffs and filling hours between nine and five, it becomes an integral part of our identity – driving and shaping our whole life. So at a time when financial meltdown has caused unemployment to soar, it feels right to take a closer look at the answers we give when asked that perennial question: so what do you do?”

Playing alongside the season, the venue will also host Bristol based artists Ella Good and Nicki Kent’s Wild Thing I Love You this autumn. The love letter to Bigfoot, which tells the story of the pair’s 2011 adventure across America in search of the elusive legendary creature, plays from 21 to 25 October.

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