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From 21 critic and 27 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Relevant, Ambitious

About the show

Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway returns to The Public in this one-woman show about an ace fighter pilot whose unexpected pregnancy ends her career in the sky. More…

Told in the form of a monologue, "Grounded" tells the story of a pregnant pilot re-assigned to operate military drones from a windowless trailer outside Las Vegas. She hunts terrorists by day and returns to her family each night. As the pressure to track a high-profile target mounts, the boundaries begin to blur between the desert in which she lives and the one she patrols half a world away. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Julie Taymor.


"Its divisive subject is as current as the front page of today’s New York Times...It’s unassailably dramatic, kinetic and provocative...Writer, director and character merge in a single, indelible unity of vision I won’t soon forget." Full Review


"George Brant's 2011 drama is more than just eerily prescient. Nor is the work merely a flashy vehicle for a glamour-puss movie star and an A-list director. This is a taut, visceral psychological portrait of a rare woman fighter pilot. 'Grounded' spreads the damage around with a precision strike on modern life itself." Full Review


"Onstage alone for 85 minutes, she grabs the audience and takes it on a compelling dramatic journey. Directed by Julie Taymor, the production throbs with movement, background music and flashing projections...A disturbing play brought to vivid life by Hathaway's performance." Full Review


"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. 'Grounded' is an expertly crafted work that adds a unique dimension to a very controversial and timely issue." Full Review

New York Theatre Review

"A rare and precious experience: theatre that is both soul searing and core shaking...The play implicitly critiques the military’s use of drones, yet it concentrates on one woman’s existence and the personal toll of deploying destructive power at an alienated distance. "Grounded" weaves a brilliant and visceral story about a woman on the edge of collapse, in a messy, complicated and dangerous world." Full Review


"Taymor makes an impressive shift to something more intimate and psychological...She creates striking images to represent the changing world of the pilot...Brant's intriguing and engaging script doesn't argue policy, but is more fixed on the notion that modern technology is capable of turning soldiers into assassins, if only human conscience wouldn't stand in the way." Full Review

New York Daily News

"A real gem...The play trains audiences’ eyes on a slice of life unfamiliar to most people. That makes the show worthwhile; the crisp, smart script makes it even better." Full Review


"The evening is as much a sensory experience as it is a literary one. For all the physical aspects, however, director Taymor boils it all down to a piece about a single, solitary human being whose certainties slowly erode. Fierce, confused, angry, loving, exultant — Hathaway is as multi-colored as the Las Vegas neon that patterns the floor. What's unsaid in 'Grounded' is as potent as what is." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"This production, unnervingly gorgeous and overwrought, considers the costs of fighting a foreign war from home...The breadth of the design and the intensity of the performance try to widen out the play in ways that don’t always flatter the script, flattening its ambiguities, underscoring symbols that were already obvious. And yet, the conclusion still chills." Full Review

The New York Times

"Mr. Brant’s play draws a nuanced and haunting portrait of a woman serving in the United States Armed Forces...Some baggy or repetitive passages notwithstanding, Mr. Brant’s writing largely remains taut, terse and concentrated on exposing the fissures that open in the heroine’s confidence and sense of honor...'Grounded' has a grimly fresh topicality." Full Review

The Wrap

"The production is effective and often dazzling. It does what it’s supposed to do: take us inside the pilot’s mind. But 'Grounded' skimps on relationships. This character is many things, but not a solo act. The staging lets us know that the pilot is separated from everyone else by technology, but it’s the play that separates her from the audience." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"Brant provides scant geopolitical context, and arguably this lack of facts helps to reinforce the soullessness of the pilot’s existence, but his writing style is a bit too staccato for my taste — a few developed anecdotes would have helped deepen the story emotionally. But Hathaway’s memorably kinetic performance is noteworthy in itself." Full Review


"The Public Theater’s intimate Anspacher space proves the ideal staging area for Taymor’s arsenal of pyrotechnics...The tricky part for both actor and director is the Pilot’s gradual enlightenment about what it actually means to fly a drone." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"What Mr. Brant has done is to find the poetry in the rhythms of everyday speech. The strength of Ms. Hathaway’s performance lies in the gauged intensity with which she responds to the poetic aspect of 'Grounded.' But 'Grounded' is smothered in a thick sauce of overelaborate visual and sound effects." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Why doesn't this impressive production pack more of an emotional wallop? The technical wizardry and star power expose the limitations of the play...Brant's ending seems melodramatic. And perhaps all the directorial pyrotechnics, while making this production unusually dynamic for a solo show, contribute to a certain detachment from the experience being portrayed." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Taymor’s busy, illustrative direction—which surrounds the actress with showy projections and sound effects—adds to the trouble; her staging of the play’s new ending hovers at the edge of kitsch. It’s good to see Hathaway spreading her wings, but the end result doesn’t take flight." Full Review

New York Theater

"it’s my guess I would have liked “Grounded” better in almost any of its other productions...One senses the director is giving us this ride for its own sake...No one would deny that Julie Taymor’s 'Grounded' is visually arresting. But it is also dramatically arrested. Her emphasis on the special effects is distracting and overkill." Full Review

The Nation

for a previous production "Last night I was blown away, though happily not literally, by a brilliant stage performance at Page 73..."Grounded" powerfully focuses on the human element, on both sides of the joystick that unleashes drones overseas. Don’t miss it." Full Review


for a previous production "It is a difficult thing to make a captivating experience out of a single monologue. Yet the story we hear in playwright George Brant's Grounded keeps us mesmerized. Brant's words pulse with the rhythms of an epic war poem but this solo play brings a modern sensibility to the ancient theme of war that Homer could have never a thought-provoking, thoroughly engrossing production like Grounded will make a welcome and important addition to your theatergoing diet." Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production "The play, which won the 2012 Smith Prize for works about American politics, obliquely ponders how advances in technology are affecting the psychology of men and women in the armed forces. The answers it suggests are not the simple ones you might expect; in fact, while “Grounded” is mostly gripping as a portrait of a particular woman facing particular traumas, it ultimately doesn’t provide much fodder for larger reflections on American foreign policy." Full Review

Time Out New York

for a previous production "Sharp-eyed, timely script. "Grounded" lets no one off easy; it forces the audience into a greater awareness of our own complicity in America’s drifts." Full Review

Clever, Intense, Must see, Great acting, Epic

See it if you want to see some top-notch acting on an important and relevant issue facing the military.

Don't see it if you cannot stand Anne Hathaway, and does not want to see an intense play.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intense

See it if Anne Hathaway is a powerhouse is this one woman play. Stunningly staged by Julie Taymor. Riveting!

Don't see it if no reason not to see it.

Thought-provoking, Riveting, Masterful, Must see, Great acting

See it if If you want to see an incredible performance and like Anne Hathaway (who gives a stunning performance!!)

Don't see it if If you don't like Anne Hathaway or one woman plays.

Ambitious, Edgy, Masterful, Intense, Original

See it if Original thought provoming theatre

Don't see it if You are looking for light theatre

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You want to see Anne Hathaway performing a masterful piece of acting

Don't see it if You're just looking for a fun time at the theater.

Riveting, Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Profound

See it if You like masterful performances

Don't see it if You don't like one woman shows.

Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You like intense, introspective, drama. You are against armed conflict, how it affects armed service personnel to engage in mass destruction

Don't see it if You are a firm hawk, you think questioning peace is unpatriotic.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Masterful

See it if an original play with a deep, intense story line. Anne Hathaway's intense performance drags you in to the story as it unfolds.

Don't see it if are looking for a light hearted comedy

Entertaining, Funny, Hilarious, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if You love the movie and/or the work of Tim Minchin. This show is an incredibly fun time.

Don't see it if You want something grim and majestic.

Great staging, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if the thought of a one-woman show with Anne Hathaway, dir by Taymor intrigues you. Which it should as she is brilliant. Provocative and deep.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy shows dealing with political or timely issues like drone pilots in the military.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Relevant

See it if Anne Hathaway does a great job of conveying the frustrations of a drone bomber. She was riveting.

Don't see it if The descriptions of the havoc her bombs wreak may be disturbing to some.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Intense

See it if To see Anne Hathaway in an intense performance and to see what drones are doing to the mind

Don't see it if You do not care about drones being used in warfare

Absorbing, Intelligent, Riveting, Intense

See it if You like something that's different and unexpected. Anne Hathaway's performance was amazing

Don't see it if You don't like serious plays that may be hard to follow at times and don't have a clear ending

Thought-provoking, Original, Intense, Great staging, Clever

See it if you enjoy a one woman show

Don't see it if the thought of surveillance scares you

Great acting, Inventive, Relevant, Beautifully staged

See it if You love Anne Hathaway and Julie Taymor.

Don't see it if You're expecting a fully-reasoned expose on drone warfare.

Absorbing, Intense, Predictable, Masterful, Relevant

See it if you want tour-de-force visuals about an air-force pilot & a riveting star-turn from rosy-cheeked Anne Hathaway

Don't see it if you don't buy Hathaway as a war-hardened, thrill-seeking soldier and expect nuanced writing when A-list talent & producers choose a play.

Absorbing, Slow, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You're a big fan of Anne Hathaway and like war plays -- not one or the other.

Don't see it if You dislike one-person plays and need more action than dialogue.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you appreciate storytelling that brings current events from the newspapers to life. This play should be acted out on stages across the US.

Don't see it if you're looking for a light and fluffy night at the theater.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great staging, Intense

See it if you want to see a show about the Iraq war, you like one-person shows, you like stories about strong women.

Don't see it if you think the premise is too much for you, you like shows with multiple actors.

Talky, Wobbly accent, Well staged, Draggy in parts, Overrated

See it if you love Anne Hathaway. The script isn't stellar (not particularly insightful). I've seen much better solo shows. Still, not unpleasant.

Don't see it if you're expecting a tour de force from Taymor and Hathaway. I liked it fine. AH's accent came-and-went; it wasn't necessary, so why try?

Also I'm catching up on shows I saw, but didn't review. Because of the name... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Slow

See it if You've never seen a one-man show

Don't see it if You're looking for a little more stage action

Great acting, Ambitious, Slow

See it if You are a fan of the actress playing the role. Anne Hathaway was amazing to watch.

Don't see it if You don't like slow moving shows. The show is long and slow moving, but it is interesting to watch.

Great acting, Great staging, Slow, Disappointing

See it if You like Anne Hathaway and you care about military stories featuring women (e.g. you liked Zero Dark Thirty)

Don't see it if You expect to see transcendent theater or have a huge cry.

Banal, Disappointing, Indulgent

See it if I didn't enjoy the story. Andy Carl and the rest of he cast was good.the music and dancing was pretty good. It was boring

Don't see it if If you liked the movie I guess you will like the show,otherwise don't bother.

Clever, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You are a fan of the movie. Enjoy ingenious and energetic staging. The score is not as memorable as "Matilda", but advances the plot well.

Don't see it if You have difficulty processing plot development. Think Bill Murray's take on the character could not be would be wrong!

Also The first act gets understandably bogged down with exposition, but nev... Read more Read less

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