From the headlines to the stage

Press photo for Alyson Grant’s Trench Patterns
Promotional photo for Alyson Grant’s Trench Patterns

In a dramatized fashion, Trench Patterns explores the psychological state of a female soldier after her return from Afghanistan.

Winner of Infinithéâtre’s 2011 Write-On-Q! playwriting competition and chosen as one of the six plays from over 400 submissions for the Fall 2012 Festival of Staged Readings at Chicago’s Artemisia Theatre, Trench Patterns premieres on Oct. 25 at Bain St-Michel.

Alyson Grant’s poetic play features Jacqueline, a wounded combat officer who after being wounded in a mission in Afghanistan, returns home, haunted by the violent events she witnessed there. She finds consolation in ghostlike visitations from her great-grandfather, Jacques, a French Montrealer who was executed during World War I. As she dives into his world, she also moves closer to her own.

Alyson Grant teaches at Dawson College. Press photo.

“I would like [the viewers] to feel they’ve been somewhere unsettling, but that they’ve been given a road out of it,” Grant says.

Grant started writing the play after sensing a “coverage fatigue” towards the topic. “We’re participating in a war and it’s our responsibility to be aware of what is going on and what we’re engaged [in].” Her research focused on Canada’s role in Afghanistan, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the events of World War One.

Grant’s characters, Jacqueline and Jacques, were formed out of her research. “They were just living [in my mind] for a while, not yet knowing where [they] would go play-wise, but just letting them be there was fun,” she says. After morning hikes and long writing sessions in a remote area of Ireland, she finished her first play, and now that opening night is just a few days away she says she’s “excited, nervous – but in a good way – and thrilled.”

Guy Sprung, Infinithéâtre’s artistic director as well as the director of the play, explains the play as a “moving piece of writing about an issue front and centre in the Canadian psyche.” According to him, Trench Patterns incites the audience by presenting challenging questions such as, “Is there such thing as a ‘just’ war and a ‘good’ soldier?”

The role of Jacqueline is played by Patricia Summersett. On stage with her are talented Diana Fajrajsl, Zach Fraser and James Soares-Correia, appearing in his first professional role since being a regular performer in Theatre Ste. Catherine’s Sunday Night Improv.

Trench Patterns opens on Oct. 25 at Bain St-Michel. For more information visit

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