Academy Award winning actress Anne Hathaway has just debuted off broadway in a one woman show called "Grounded." NY1’s Roma Torre filed the following review.
The timing of "Grounded" is quite remarkable. On the very day that I went to see it, President Obama went on TV to say that two hostages held by Al Qaeda - one American, the other Italian - were mistakenly killed during a drone attack hunting terrorists in Pakistan.
Drone warfare and the moral and ethical questions it raises are the focus of "Grounded,” a deeply thought-provoking, visually arresting one-woman play directed by Julie Taymor and starring Anne Hathaway.
Hathaway plays an Air Force fighter pilot who enjoys the thrill of danger, the camaraderie with her fellow Top Guns, and mostly "the blue" as she calls it - that sense of outer body expansiveness when defying the pull of life's gravitational forces.
However, everything changes when she unexpectedly falls for a guy, gets married and has a baby. She is "grounded" during pregnancy and for a time after. But when she decides to return to the air, she's re-assigned to man a drone, the reaper - an $11 million killing machine that she controls from a chair in a military base outside Las Vegas. She balks at first. The "Chair Force," as it is derogatorily called, is regarded as a demotion. But it eliminates physical risk and it gives the pilots a normal life at home with family.
Playwright George Brant probes the very personal side of the drone debate. And while he ends on a note of dramatic devastation, the play doesn’t provide any easy answers. What it does do is present a highly compelling portrait of a bright woman who comes to the realization that she has become an executioner.
Anne Hathaway, flying solo, fleshes out the physically demanding role with impressive nuance and intensity. And it's impeccably staged by Julie Taymor with stunning projections and special effects.
Grounded is an expertly crafted work that adds a unique dimension to a very controversial and timely issue.