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The American Pilot

Farmer: The American Pilot was the most beautiful human being I had ever seen. His skin was the colour of sand flecked through with gold. He was tall and he was strong and his eyes were as blue as the sky he fell from. Every time I looked at him a cloud of unbidden thoughts would rise in my mind like insects from disturbed grass. He might have been in the same room as us but he wasn’t like us. He seemed of a different kind entirely. All the time he was with us, I kept sensing I was only a moment away from a moment when I would suddenly kiss him.

The American pilot was unsettling.
As far as I was concerned, the sooner he was gone from my shed, the better.

One afternoon in 2003, during the period when I was blocked writing Pyrenees, I was sitting in Vittorio’s pizza restaurant on Leith Walk in Edinburgh waiting to teach a class at Queen Margaret’s College. I was reading a Heiner Muller monologue about a red army soldier in the second world war. The soldier has the line ‘We saw him coming THE GERMAN…’ This capitalization grabbed my attention. I immediately saw that – in our world – THE GERMAN – was now –THE AMERICAN. I quickly wrote the opening monologue and sketched the rest of the play. It all came in a flash. Intense and sudden. I wrote the play in three days and didn’t substantially change it after that.

Title: The American Pilot
Premier Place and Date: Stratford, 2005
Director and Producing Company: Ramin Gray, Royal Shakespeare Company
Publication Details: Faber ISBN 0571229034
Translation Details:
Foreign Performances: Manhattan Theatre Club, New York.
Awards, Prizes:
Characters: 7 (plus extras) (Male – 5 Female – 2)