A Conversation with Robert Chafe, Artistic Fraud Artistic Associate, Playwright & Co-creator for “Fear of Flight”

Robert Chafe playwright and co-creator of Fear of Flight playing at The Cultch

Robert Chafe

What happens in this show?
Fourteen singing passengers endure turbulence, paranoia, their fear of flying and their fear of what’s waiting on the ground, during a bumpy transcontinental flight. There’s Joyce on her way to her sister’s lesbian wedding, and the invariable familial grilling of her continued singledom. There’s Blandy, the tough-as-nails fourteen year old, flying to say goodbye to her dying mother in Florida. There’s Glynis, the naïve ball of optimism, flying to Vancouver because Jesus asked her to.

How did Fear of Flight come to be?
It all started many years ago when Director Jillian Keiley and friend and actor Torquil Colbo created a five-minute movement piece to explore their shared fear of flying. They concocted the plan on the lawn of the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Fine Arts Building. Flash forward ten years and Jill and playwright Robert Chafe are back at the college in residency and asked to create a show utilizing the 30 second and third-year students. Fear of Flight was born. Since that time the original student production played at the 2006 Magnetic North Festival in St. John’s, before a pared down (14 person), ramped up (new a cappella score) professional production debuted in 2008. That production travelled to the Magnetic North festival and Toronto’s Factory Theatre last spring, and now comes to the Cultural Olympiad.