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Reviews for 'Grounded'

MLive - Ann Arbor News
'Grounded' takes flight at Theatre Nova

TN's "Grounded" is spare in every sense. A painted backdrop vaguely suggests a distant landscape, as it might appear on a monitor, and Keller has only a small, padded bench and a chair to work with. Running nearly 90 minutes, without intermission, Keller must work with no ejector seat or parachute. As a performer, her task is nearly as daunting as the Pilot's. But Daniel C. Walker's quick-shifting lighting design does lots of heavy lifting in TN's production, guiding the audience from one setting and moment into the next; for Brant's text often gives you the sense of being whipped around in time, particularly in the early going. Director Phil Powers takes pains to keep Keller moving, to give us something to watch as well as hear, and certain areas of the stage soon become established set points: when she sits on the bench, she's flying drones; the chair in the corner is where she sits in her car for the commute; when she approaches the bench on bended knee, it's her daughter's bed. This keeps the proceedings from getting too static, despite only having a cast of one. Keller gives a highly animated, all-in performance, as she must for the show to work. 


Out of the blue, “Grounded” in shades of gray

"This gripping narrative of contemporary combat, and its commingling of front lines and home front, has its Michigan premiere at Theatre Nova, part of the Ann Arbor company’s first season. With direction by Phil Powers, the single-act production moves at jet speed, even as it traces a long, chilling free fall into the unknown. Powers’s direction keeps things moving at a constant hum, foregoing marked ups and downs in favor of a subtle, almost imperceptible descent as the Pilot’s certainty gradually disintegrates. Keller’s presence is more than engaging as she executes this risky (and occasionally risqué) material, giving dimension to an unconventional career trajectory and putting a human face on modern warfare in a unique, thought-provoking manner.



"It seems all too fitting that - according to Deborah Keller, star of Theatre Nova's production of George Brant's award-winning one-woman show, "Grounded" - this play was produced nearly a dozen times in different parts of the world before it finally premiered (with Anne Hathaway as the star) in New York. I mean, really. How else would we expect a play about drones, and war by remote control, to first appear on our cultural radar? "Grounded" tells the story of a fighter pilot who, upon becoming pregnant, is re-assigned to operating drones from a windowless trailer, and finds that work far more taxing and troubling than flying combat missions." - Jenn McKee,

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