My Father’s Airplane
The airplanes discussed in the play are another personal connection for me to my own father. The fact that we have a British Spitfire on the set with us is really exciting for me. My father was a pilot in WWII and I’ve always been fascinated with WWII vintage airplanes. In fact, growing up I made model airplanes which I hung on the ceiling of my room. My dad flew a P-38 in the south pacific. So I had a model of the P-38 set prominently in my room. I also had a model of a Spitfire. My dad always said it was one of the most respected airplanes among pilots. I also had models of a Japanese zero, an American P-51, B-29 and a B17. All of these were hung together in a huge dogfight in the corners of my room. So to have a Spitfire as the model plane on set made me so happy. When I hold that plane I think of the connection and shared love of those fighter planes I had with my father. I also think about how Thomas’ father’s hands touched that plane. It is a craft. I used to go to the New Mexico State Fair to see the model planes on display. It was always fascination to see the detailed painting on those planes. I would also hand paint the planes that I made and hung in my room.
The respect for the model plane is also very telling for Thomas. Most of the time Thomas is boisterous (as our director has encouraged me to make him) and in the apartment he is like a bull in a china shop. But when Thomas touches the plane, it is the one thing that slows him down and calms him in the play. The display of the plane to Brant is one of the points in the play where Thomas shows his vulnerability voluntarily after telling the story of his father’s death. It is one of my favorite moments in the play.