EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEW
The following are excerpts from the October 19, 2014 DC Metro Theatre Arts Review of Grounded by Gina Jun
Everyman Theatre soars high with the Baltimore debut of Grounded, gluing audience members to their seats with an absorbing, emotionally-brimming, one-woman drama by multiple award-winning American playwright, George Brant, who explodes our assumptions about modern warfare, and unapologetically tells a story of our times through a hot-rod F16 fighter pilot.
Directed by Derek Goldman, who has personally known writer George Brant for many years (friends since Goldman was a freshman in college), Grounded is a nearly flawless examination of a woman who faces the task of reimagining herself in a new role and finding self- meaning and purpose without losing herself and, quite possibly, her mind in the process.
As “The Pilot,” Megan Anderson perfectly draws us into all of her challenges, all of the physical and emotional turmoil of this character, as we hypnotically watch for the entire length of the play’s 75 minutes. For that short time, there is only The Pilot, a fully realized person who the audience gets to know, sympathize with, root for and care about. And, that is an absolute credit to Anderson, and her extraordinary talent. She fully commits to the performance and never breaks or drops the character for a moment. She also manages to demonstrate how a one-person show should be done, with no sense of ego or attention-seeking. It never feels like an actress trying to prove how well she can handle the rigors of a lengthy solo performance. Instead, it feels true, real and natural, like we are sitting with this fighter pilot, at the neighborhood bar or somewhere relaxed and familiar, as she tells us her story. And, she tells it directly to us. That is really what it is all about, the actor is a storyteller, and Anderson is absolutely sensational at comprehensively transforming this particular tale into a no-holds-barred, exceptionally enthralling tour de force.
Grounded is a show that really could be done with extreme simplicity, just an actor in a room, telling a story for a little over an hour. In this case, though, Anderson has some help bringing the story to life. Like any great director would, Derek Goldman vanishes into the performance. That is, it never feels like Goldman is pulling the strings and navigating Anderson around on stage. While it can be observed that there may be too much gliding going on, that The Pilot needs to keep steady and stop prancing and prowling so much, her constant movement suits the tense, tightly-wound personality of the character. She is deeply conflicted and complex, at times, filled with penetrating anxiety or confusion, and her physical actions on and around the stage fit those qualities.
An intensely entrancing, thought-provoking, compelling combination of intelligent text and thoroughly inhabited performance, Everyman Theatre’s Grounded raises many questions about modern warfare, fought with “eye in the sky” methods, and captures all the ups and downs of a conflicted person dealing with the ethics of her job and how it affects her personally. Right up until the chilling, immensely effective ending, you will be confronted with rights and wrongs, truths and untruths, and questions probing who is among the “guilty.”