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By Sarah Ward
July 27, 2015

Grounded – Queensland Theatre Company

This one-woman play about ace aviator pilots has a need for speed — but Top Gun, it isn't.
By Sarah Ward
July 27, 2015

Step inside the world of aviation's ace fighters, then experience the complexities and complications surrounding their efforts to take to the skies. No, this isn't Top Gun — although the play's nameless pilot protagonist certainly is one. Instead, it's a one-woman play that combines a military setting with a contemplation of the ethics of modern warfare.

Grounded's heroine has a need for speed and lives for the squeeze of the trigger, until love and pregnancy send her back to earth. When she rekindles her career, it's in a seat at a base — aka "Chair Force" — rather than above the battlefield. Controlling a drone on the other side of the world, she realises that she can't war wirelessly and then go home pretending it's just like any other job.

If it sounds like an emotionally and thematically complex work, that's because it is, with playwright George Brandt soaring both in his story and in his handling of the topic. There's a reason Grounded won the 2012 Smith Prize for works about American politics, after all. In this new staging featuring renowned local actress Libby Munro, you'll probably think it deserves more awards as well.

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