Grounded, the one-woman show directed by Julie Taymor and starring Anne Hathaway, clocks in at what would seem like a very manageable 85 minutes. But when you feel a show of that length should have been cut by a half hour that’s not a good sign.
Hathaway plays an unnamed fighter pilot who is grounded by an unplanned pregnancy. She has the child, marries the father, and ends up at a desk job in Las Vegas. But not any desk job – she’s flying unmanned drones over Afghanistan. Hathaway’s character is not happy with the new job. She wants to get back up in the “blue.” But she and her family make a life in Vegas. She does have to drive two hours each day between home, base and back, sit at a screen watching for insurgents to blow up for eight hours and gets little joy from her daughter or husband. This repetitive existence is drilled into the audience repetitively. The staging is clever but I wanted to shout out “I get it.” The Pilot starts to unravel as she kills faceless people with drone strikes, becomes paranoid about who may be watching her family anonymously, and breaks down as she imagines she’s killed the wrong person.
Hathaway was good at keeping my attention even as the plot dragged but I didn’t like her Wyoming accent and felt it was an unnecessary affect. Besides the staging the visual effects were also striking. Grounded had an important story to tell about the type of war we now engage in but the story droned. AFW
Grounded – The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street
Tickets: prices start at $90
Runs thru: May 24,2015
Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission