If you could steal something, and get away with it, would you do it?
That question is at the core of the Grand Theatre’s upcoming presentation of Fly Me to the Moon.
Running Jan. 12-30 on the Grand’s main stage, Fly Me to the Moon is a comedy about a typical workday for two homecare workers in Belfast, Ireland, whose day quickly goes from bad to worse.
An elderly man the two women are caring for dies in the bathroom with an unclaimed winning race ticket still in his possession. The two women — Francis and Loretta — tell one lie after another, while their attempt to beat the system throws them headlong into a day-long comedic adventure.
Deidre Gillard-Rowlings plays Francis Shields and describes the play a little more succinctly.
“It is about these two women who are care workers, have been working together for several years, their friendship and the shenanigans they find themselves in the middle of when the day takes a turn they didn’t expect,” Gillard-Rowlings said. “It’s about the heap of muck they have to dig themselves out of.”
Gillard-Rowlings said Fly Me to the Moon is a play “anyone and everyone” can relate to.
That central question, ‘how much money would you take if you knew you could get away with it?’ represents a huge morale dilemma for the two characters.
And that, she adds, is where the humour comes in. After all, it’s hard to find the comedy without a little tragedy.
“It’s a moral dilemma. There are huge moral dilemmas in this play, which is what is so funny about it,” Gillard-Rowlings said. “You see it played out on these two character’s faces. They are wrestling with themselves. You can’t just do comedy for the sake of being fluffy. If someone gets pulled in and sees themselves in it, then you’ve done your job.”
Joining Gillard-Rowlings on stage is Carmen Grant in the role of Loretta Mackie
Grant called the preparation for Fly Me to the Moon, “one of the most joyful rehearsal processes” she has ever been a part of.
Both women agree the moral questions raised in the play revolve around the price someone is willing to pay in taking a particular course of action.
For Gillard-Rowlings, the price was a very personal one in that she wasn’t able to spend Christmas with her family.
Although it was one she was willing to pay for the role, she knows her character must face a much higher cost.
“She’s a pretty desperate woman. She is always looking for opportunity, to keep money, to make money, sometimes to spend money, but she always has her eyes open for some loophole she can jump through,” Gillard-Rowlings said. “Due to circumstances, her life has taken a very different turn than mine. She lives in a much more tumultuous and violent world, a more desperate world than mine.”
Grant’s price is the need to have joy in her work, for without out it there is no sense spending all the time in the rehearsal hall.
For her character, that price is extremely personal in that she is willing to do whatever she can to make her children happy.
It is those kinds of thoughts — along with hopefully a lot of laughs — she hopes audiences will take away from the performance.
“I hope they have seen a part of themselves they never expected to see on stage, or represented on stage,” Grant said. “Maybe they walk away thinking about their own choices. What they would do.”