Q+A with the THE SPITFIRE GRILL company

by Ciara Berardi, Dramaturg

Have you ever dreamed of a place where none of your fears and worries exist? Your own personal world in a town where everyone knows you? A place where the colors of paradise come to you. Something is brewing up at The Spitfire Grill, and it’s inviting you inside.

The Spitfire Grill follows Percy, a woman fresh out of prison, on her journey to start over her life in Gilead, Wisconsin. As she goes through her own awakening from past traumas and finds herself working at the Spitfire Grill, she soon discovers that the citizens of Gilead are all in their own forms of feeling lost in their lives. With the Grill for sale, Percy convinces Hannah to hold an essay contest to raffle it off.

To better understand the emotional impact of this show on all those that walk through the doors of The Spitfire Grill, here are some answers from a Q + A with our cast and crew.

Who is the most complex character in the show from your perspective?

Piper Phillips (She/Her/Hers) – Lighting Designer

I think that Caleb is indicative of so many threatened-feeling men who have driven extreme right-wing causes recently, and embodies the complicated relationship between gender and economic roles.

Liv Tighe (She/Her/Hers) – Stage Manager

I think Hannah, Shelby, and Percy are all intensely complex in contrasting ways which makes their relationship so dynamic.

How do you embody your role?

Morgan McMillin (She/Her/Hers) – Shelby

I think Shelby has the ability to find the good in anything bad. She has the power of forgiveness that allows her to look past and get over many hurdles that are in her way. I think we share that same outlook on life. Not letting the bad drag you down with them and being able to lift yourself up.

Naja Nicole Brown (She/Her/Hers) – Percy

I start by using all the information given in the text about my character, and then using all that to influence my behavior.

Juliana Ferolie (She/Her/Hers) – Effy Understudy

Through research of the time period, especially postmistresses.

Emily Begley (She/Her/Hers) – Percy Understudy

With as much braveness as it deserves!

What challenges have you overcome while working on this project?

Piper Phillips (She/Her/Hers) – Lighting Designer

Working on a show this big in a post-pandemic world means that I’ve designed around labor availability like never before. It’s been a great exercise in meaningful cuts.

Ryan Tse (He/Him/His) – Production Assistant

Accepting my role in the show and just learning everything new as my first show at Emerson.

What has been your favorite moment behind the scenes?

Morgan McMillin (She/Her/Hers) – Shelby

It’s pretty lucky that we as a cast came in already knowing each other pretty well. I think this process has just brought us even closer. It’s really nice being able to play such heavy scenes and then be able to walk off stage and find comfort in my castmates because we are so close. They are all such talented and great people.

Naja Nicole Brown (She/Her/Hers) – Percy

I honestly just love hanging out with everybody on breaks & the little in-between moments we have. Every single person working on this show is honestly just so lovely to be around.

If there was a place you could enter a contest for, like the Spitfire Grill, where would it be and what does that place mean to you?

Naja Nicole Brown (She/Her/Hers) – Percy

I would probably enter a contest to win a medieval castle in the countryside of Italy or France. I have always wanted to have a vacation castle where I could live out my summers completely off the grid, and pretend like I’m a magical princess.

Ryan Tse (He/Him/His) – Production Assistant

My high school theater. It is a place where I found my passion for doing technical theater and the many memories that I have made there. I also made a lot of friends there, doing shows together and having a lot of fun.

Juliana Ferolie (She/Her/Hers) – Effy Understudy

Ooh, for me it would have to be winning a local bakery back home (Long Island); I’ve always wanted to open one with my mom!

Emily Begley (She/Her/Hers) – Percy Understudy

I would enter to win this Irish Pub in my hometown called Swift’s! I’ve spent a lot of meals with my family there, and the place has emotional value for me.

Munroe Shearer (Any Pronouns) – Costume Designer

It would be in rural New England. I cannot get enough of the woods, the warmth, and the peace of the mountains.

Come join us in the mountains of Gilead, cozy up at the Spitfire Grill, and read a life story with us.

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