Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron

Grounded
Dobama Theatre
Review by Mark Horning

Also see Mark's reviews of Dixie's Tupperware Party and Godspell


Anjanette Hall
Photo by Steve Wagner Photography
She stands on what appears to be a cross shaped tarmac with the back portion rising swiftly to the sky, much like a fighter jet would gain rapid altitude. She is known simply as the Pilot, and in her standard issue Air Force jumpsuit she relates how her clothing is more than what it seems. It is a symbol of hard work against incredible odds to become one of the top female fighter pilots in the world. She talks about Tiger, her plane she refers to as feminine. This is George Brant's Grounded, currently at Dobama Theatre, begins.

Her life is all about "the blue" and flying missions to take out the bad guys while avoiding dying from tracers and ground to air missiles. Back at base she and "the guys" get drunk and share lies, completing the circle of their existence. While on leave in the states, she's at a bar drinking with other pilots who are on leave because that is pretty much all there is to do. Eric (who works at the family owned hardware store) bucks the odds and manages to breach the defensive circle. Eric is different from the rest of pickups. He is truly interested in what she does. They spend the next three days together.

And after that, she's back to flying missions; her flight suit begins to feel tighter and she nearly gets sick while flying. "Pink" confirms her suspicions. The Pilot is taken off of missions and sent home. She reconnects with Eric (with whom she had been keeping in contact by Skype) and tells him of her pregnancy and wish to keep the baby. They marry, she is reassigned to Las Vegas, and they settle into raising their little girl, Samantha. As the pressure of home (Eric gets a job as a dealer) and work (she now sees the carnage that her missiles evoked) build, symptoms of PTSD begin to manifest themselves.

There is no BS about it, from the opening lines to the dramatic finale, Anjanette Hall keeps the audience spellbound. Aptly directed by Alice Reagan, this epic "poem" by Cleveland Heights native George Brant raises the question, "Is anyone truly qualified for war?" During the entire 85 minutes of stage time audience members will find it impossible to turn away for even an instant lest they miss something vital.

Grounded at Dobama Theatre takes civilians into the little known world of the Armed Forces where technology may be outstripping our human tendencies, resulting in epic breakdowns. Using comedic touches to counterpoint the stark realities of war, it tells a story that few have the courage to enter.

Grounded, through February 11, 2018, at The Dobama Theatre, 2340 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dobama.org or by calling 216-932-3396.


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