The unnamed main character is the epitome of a tough fighter pilot, loving nothing more than being up in "the blue" and fighting for her country. She's forced to give that up, at least temporarily, when she falls in love and gets pregnant. After a few years at a desk job she longs to return to the blue; even though she loves her husband and daughter, it's not enough. She reports for duty and is told she'll be remotely flying drones rather than going up in planes, and is assigned to a base outside of Las Vegas. She initially thinks she's being punished, but is eventually convinced that drones are where it's at. She moves with her family into a house in the suburbs and begins her daily 12-hour shift of flying drones, returning home to her family at night. War as a 9 to 5 job may sound nice, fight the bad guys during the day and then go home to your family, but this pilot learns that it's not as easy as it sounds. It becomes increasingly difficult for her to separate her day job of killing "military age males" from her home and family life in the suburbs. Instead of transitioning out of war mentality once a year on leave, she has to do it every day, and soon the lines begin to blur, to the detriment of both her work and home life.
|Shá Cage as the grounded pilot|
(photo by Tony Nelson)
Grounded is a fascinating look at the sacrifices made by and challenges facing those who work in the military, at home and abroad, as well as more generally the challenges of being a working mother. It also touches on the idea that everything we do is being watched. An idea which, if not totally true, seems to be where the world is moving, which is a disturbing thought. Grounded continues at the Playwrights' Center through November 23.