I’ve never understood the vitriol directed at Anne Hathaway. I guess she said a few dippy things that rubbed people the wrong way. Well, guess what? You were a dope when you were in your 20’s, too. You just weren’t famous enough for everyone to know it. As far as I can tell, she a dedicated actor who just wants to turn in the best performance she can.
I saw her at The Public Theater in her one-woman show, Grounded by George Brant, in the tiny, 275-seat, Anspacher Theater. It’s about a fighter pilot who loves flying and loves the Air Force, but suddenly finds herself grounded because of a pregnancy. She’s relegated to drone operations—an inferior position for a pilot—and it drives her to madness.
It’s directed by Julie Taymor, who knows a thing or two about tasty visuals, staging and sound design. The play opens in a dark house. The stage is wall-to-wall ripples of sand. A beam of light shoots down on center stage. Hathaway stands beneath it in a flight suit and helmet. A thin stream of stand pours down. The sand particles bouncing off her helmet are an effective opening.
The visceral thrill of flying sorties gives way to a move to Las Vegas and long, tedious drives to her desert base where she spends 12-hour shifts staring at feeds from a drone.
The tedium is only interrupted when she presses a button to rain down death from above. She slowly becomes detached from her husband, daughter, fellow crewmen and reality.
The play climaxes when she finally locates a high-ranking insurgent and, after following him for months, drops a bomb. She watches through the hyper-telescopic drone camera as a child runs out of a house to embrace him and it reminds her of her own daughter. It’s an effective, albeit, contrived conceit. Hathatway immersed herself so deeply in the performance that at the curtain call on the night I saw her, she was visibly shaken and choking back tears. She came out for a second round of applause and was still weeping.
Hathaway is on the board at The Public. In an effort to generate revenue, she’s agreed to hold post-show meet-and-greets on selected dates. You can pay $1,000 to meet her, or, for $1,500, you can sit in prime seats for the show and afterwards have a three-course dinner with her and George Brandt, the playwright.
Considering the condition she was in at curtain call, I can’t imagine dinner being a barrel of laughs, but I’ll bet you’d remember it.
I walked over to the Sean Kelly Gallery on my lunch hour to see Cyclicscape, ten new aluminum and stainless steel sculptures by contemporary artist Mariko Mori.
They’re white, smooth loops without a beginning or end. They have a nice flow to them.
The galley was empty and seeing them in a quiet, white space gave them gravitas. I’m glad nobody was around. A crowd sure can ruin a meditative moment.
There’s always some art-speak mumbo-jumbo in the press release. (Right, Ross?) This time, it’s something about the universe’s never-ending renewal of invisible energy that transcends physical matter. Oh, brother. Can I just say I liked them for no particular reason?
They reminded me of those squiggle pins that Paloma Piasso designed for Tiffany’s.
Really dig the shadows those pieces cast too.
Yes, but what do they mean?
They mean “Ooo pretty.”
P.S. Are you going to do a post about your show? Thanks for the link.
For some reason I always confuse Anne Hathaway with the actress who played ‘Rollergirl’ in ‘Boogie Nights’. I’m glad she’s finding challenging work. Are you allowed to touch those smooth white loops? You must have felt like touching them, right?
Heather Graham. I hope neither one of them stumbles across this post. I’m sure they take great pains to be individuals and am sure they’ll be hurt to know they commonly confused by you.
Are you making a crass comment about there being smooth white loops in both north and south parts of this post? Or did I just invent that?
They are both very attractive women, so they shouldn’t be offended if I confuse them. No, I wasn’t making a crass comment. I am genuinely interested to know whether you wanted to touch the sculpture.
I was VERY tempted to caress them. They’re certainly inviting. But I was with a work colleague who knew one of the curatitor sand I didn’t want to embarrass her.
You – you liked them? What madness is this? Whatever you do, don’t tell the artist.
They’re nice. Having said that, I don’t know how much they cost but I’m pretty sure they’re overpriced. I wanted to reach out and caress them but I knew better.
I love Hathaway too – I don’t get what people get all worked up about. I think she is classy and hysterical and pretty amazing.
People are jealous of her success. Almost every negative emotion can be traced to envy. She’s got talent and it makes mere mortals feel inadequate. It’s not like she didn’t work for it.
You are spot on….plus the beauty and grace…some people do have it all. But I agree she has worked for it – and she is pretty multi-talented….
I was debating as to whether or not I should say this because it’s kind of shallow, but at one point in the play she gets out of her flight suit and is standing in a t-shirt and panties. Holy, mother of God. There’s something I don’t typically see on a Friday night (or any other night). Worth the price of admission for that alone. Meeeeyow.
I agree wholeheartedly with what you said about Anne Hathaway. She is a versatile, gifted actress who was (well, IS, compared to me) young and occasionally stupid. Who isn’t/wasn’t? We demand perfection from mere mortals at our own peril. (OK, I am being melodramatic, but how do we expect people to not make mistakes? They will and the trick is learning from them, which, I think she has.)
In fluff pieces for the play, they pointed out that both Hathaway and the director, Julie Taymor, have been attacked in the past for having peculiar personalities. How unfair is that? The world needs therapy.
Absolutely! It’s like much of the planet is trying to homogenize personalities.
I like nutty actresses. I fell hard for a few of them. They were such good actors that I believed they wanted me as badly as I wanted them. Turned out they were just honing their skills.
I read about Anne Hathaway’s one-woman-show in USA Today. They gave it a decent review. I can’t imagine the talent required to pull off a show like that with no one else on stage to buffer you.
Love that artwork. That’s a gallery I could see myself entering. As long as they didn’t think I was there to buy anything…
No doubt about it. One-man/woman shows are daring. But do you know who I admire even more? Standup comedians. Hathaway had a playwight, a director, a lighting designer, costume designer, etc. Stand-ups have a mike and their words. No help from anyone. God bless ’em.
I agree. That’s why hecklers are so annoying. They definitely don’t follow the Golden Rule when they taunt the poor comedians.
Hecklers are people driven mad by their own failure. And I don’t mean a legitimate critic. I mean a heckler. I’m no success story, but at least I don’t take it out on anyone. Well…I try not to.
It makes my heart smile when I find a new post from you! Thank you!
Thank you, Julie. That’s a nice thing to say. I’m your bloggy doctor and I’ve got an unlimited supply of happy pills. All for free, don’t forget.
Excellent! I have this pain when I turn my head. Is it lung cancer?
Hi Mark! The play looks wonderfully innovative. I loved her as Fantine in Les Mis as well. I envy you for all of the plays you get to see there. I have a minimalist décor in my house, so those sculptures are just my taste – and I guess we differ in our viewpoints of caring about what they symbolize because that’s what I love about art – although I agree that what the artist sees might not be what I see. I was downtown over the weekend and got a great shot of the War Memorial sculpture next to the full moon – I posted it on my twitter page. Do you remember it? I think it’s also called the Fountain of Eternal Life. It was so beautiful with the moon that night.
The play had a successful run here in NYC in a less influential venue but then it was brought to The Public, which is a pretty big deal, and the A-listers piled on.
Art is completely relative. One person can hate a piece and another can love it and they’d both be right.
Is the War Memorial the statue in Public Sauare with the sphere and the figure reaching up? And what are you doing downtown at that hour of the night?
The one in Public Square is the Sailors and Soldiers monument by Tower City. That whole area is currently under construction because they’re putting in a park down there. You’re right about the figure reaching into the sky, but it’s in the Memorial Plaza which is part of the Mall area downtown. And I didn’t know I had a curfew 🙂
Is that by Public Hall? I’m trying to get my barrings. It’s been so many years. I saw Roxy Music at Public Hall. We snuck backstage. Do you remember Jane Scott, by any chance? She was kind of a housefrau who wrote the rock reviews for the PD. Anyway, she was walking around backstage and someone yelled, “There’s Jane Scott! Let’s rip her clothes off!” It was all in good fun but she got the hell out of there just the same.
yep! i agree re: anne hathaway. talented young woman who knows how to use her celebrity to help those causes/things she believes in! i would love to see this one woman performance. it always amazes me how some people can ratchet up so much vitriol about people they don’t know personally, will never know, and quiet as kept, about someone who will never know how much they (the hater) hate them. (ok, in my mind, that last fragment made all the sense in the world.)
i would have been so tempted to touch the curves of those pieces! i mean, to be alone with such grace and NOT get to reach out? what a flirt the artist is! 😉 xoxoxox
I’d like to have a few drinks with Anne Hathaway. And I don’t mean that in a salacious way. I think she’d be interesting to talk to. She’d probably remind me of the actresses I dated when I was a kid. They’re a type. Just like I’m a type.
I wanted to caress those sculptures but I knew what would happen is I did. A 20-year old Mark might have done it.
Hathaway is an excellent actress. It’s a good thing that you were able to see her in that particular show. The media should let old news die and forget about what someone said when young but unfortunately that does not happen. Every tidbit of gossip often follows personalities till the day they die. I suppose that is the ultimate price paid for the famous and even the not so famous. It’s the nature of the beast.
No one and, I stress, no one goes through life without saying or doing something that is not compatible with the so called norm of the day. We are all bound to offend someone along the way, intentional or unintentional.
The NY Times interviewed her and Julie Taymor before the show and when they asked Hathaway about some of the negative publicity she’s received over the years she said, in a very elegant way, that she doesn’t discuss it. And that was that. The interview moved on to other topics. So maybe people are finally tired of hearing about it. As a side note, I can’t belive Taymor is 62. She’s a knockout.
Yes, of course you can say you like them for no reason whatsoever! That’s the best reason of all. They are really cool. I can see meditating over them. How lucky you that you can take this in on your lunch hour. I’ve always liked Hathaway because she’s very talented and seems to immerse herself in roles, which it appears she did in this production. Was it just a one-person play? I hope that’s not a stupid question.
The truth is I can NEVER put my finger on why I like something or don’t like it. That’s why I’d make a lousy critic. It ether is pleasing to my eye or it doesn’t, and that’s the end of it. It’s really as simple as that. I just spent the day at Christies and Sotheby’s looking at the artwork for the big spring auctions. Wait until you see the beautiful/horrible stuff that’s being sold. Some of it defies logic. And the prices! Some into the tens of millions.
I can’t wait! I’m sure it will blow my mind.
It’s going to make you angry, is what it’s going to do. So much money and for what? You think I’d be used to it by now but it still blows me away, every time I go.
Call it like you see it, Mark. Someone definitely should.
I don’t like doing solo gigs, in spite of being a control freak.
Sean Kelly is a famous Irish Cyclist.
How are things in Gotham? 😉
Hello, sir. Nice to see you. Everything is lovely out here. Spring hath sprung, thank goodness. I didn’t think I was going to make it for a while there. Of course you don’t like solo gigs. It would deprive you of someone to lord over. 😉
Tis the truth you speak.
Even though I don’t really know you, I know you a little bit.
I just enjoyed the show through your writing. I love the art. They do have a peaceful feel to them.
You have the best of both worlds. You can see the show through my writing and stolen stills, but you don’t have to pony-up for a ticket. I got a bit of a discount but I can assure you, they were not cheap.
Well keep it up. What show are we seeing next? 😉
I believe they’re not cheap!
“What I Did Last Summer” by AR Gurney. He’s kind of famous for writing plays about wasp-y, upper-middle-class white people. I just saw “Skylight” with Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy. I don’t write about every play I see because I’m pretty sure most people aren’t that interested. I just dole it out once in a while.
Ah, a Julie Taymor show – so different from the other stuff of hers I’m familiar with. I would have loved to see that…and glad to hear that Anne Hathaway was strong; a one-hander is a challenge for any actor. I would hate to have been famous during my 20s…oh, the idiocy!
When I think back to all the stupid missteps and bad manners I displayed in my 20’s, not only am I glad I wasn’t famous, I’m THRILLED there was no such thing as social media. My poor daughters. Their history is going to be out there permanently for everyone to see, including potential employers. In the good old days, your past was your past.
Oh goodness yes, I am so thankful social media wasn’t around when I was in high school and university.
I’m hoping there is a backlash by the time my girls are old enough to sign-up. I believe one is already starting, thank God.
That sounds like harrowing play to perform. Wish I could have seen it.And the Mobius Strip artwork? OOh, yes, please.How lucky to have had that to yourself, too.
Boy, howdy I’m lucky. Don’t think I don’t know it or don’t appreciate it. I’m kind of surprised at all the people out here who have this stuff available to them but simply aren’t interested in taking advantage. But you can’t force the issue. You either enjoy this stuff or it bores you.
Thanks for the pingback. I don’t get very many of those. It’s like a nice present you just surprised me with.
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I think Hathaway is great. Everyone is an idiot at some time or other – glad that my idiocies didn’t wind up in a newspaper or online.
And those round thingies – they sorta look like snailless snail shells.
I’m an idiot at least once a day. I was hoping it would stop at some point but it doesn’t seem to abate as I get older. I’m going to stop fighting it and consider it part of my boyish charm.
I enjoy Anne Hathaway. She is incredibly talented and enjoyed her in “Les Mis” such a great actress willing to do almost anything to become the person she is portraying. I enjoyed the Sean Kelly Gallery’s stainless steel and aluminum loops.
Ann gets major props for the haircut. One take, folks! If she had blown a line what would they have done? Glued the hair back on?! You’ve got to admit, that was pretty courageous. I like her. If I had a spare $1,500 lying around I’d have dinner with her. Seating is limited to seven people.
Great for Hathaway thinking enough of the theater to sit on the board and give back with her time with those after show talks and dinners. She must be spend emotionally after a performance such as that, too. And the critics blast her without even knowing about intelligent and compassionate moves such as these, or caring about them if they do. Good eye on the art, Mark.
I’d like to think that I was the kind of person who would give back. I’m sure we all would. But there she is; walking the walk and talking the talk. Do you think she enjoys meeting a bunch of star-fuckers after a draining performance like that? Nope. It can’t be fun. But she’s a slave to her art and knows that in order to sustain her art, she’s got to give, give, give. Another reason to admire her.
I like Hathaway! And I still haven’t grown out of being a dope.
I appreciate having this window on what’s happening in New York… and I reckon those artworks would look pleasing in my rose beds.
Not only is she a superb actor, she is, what we used to call in the old country, a hot tomato. That flight suit came off for a minute and someone has been working on her core.
You know i’m going to the thee-ate-her tonight, the I-mac and his old man are going to see the Potted Potter, i have no clue what it is other than it’s all the Harry Potter books (of which i’ve read none but the kid has torn through) condensed into 70 odd minutes, supposed to be quite funny, it’s been a while since i’ve got some culture and since the Replacements cancelled their gig in the burgh last night i’m actually in shape to go… full review tomorrow… and this stoner is quite fond of the Mori exhibit.
I took my daughters and their friends to Potted Potter and they loved it! I did, too. Much of it has little to do with Potter, so you won’t feel shipwrecked. It’s money well spent.
Potted Potter was a fine time but i think i enjoyed hanging out with the I-mac more than the show cuz me and the eldest boy rarely get to do shit on our own, he loved it and we talked about the talent it takes to act on the stage and how each performance is different and how there are no second chances… and since it’s been a while since i’ve seen live theater i forgot how much i enjoyed it, need to get back and see something sooner rather than later… a great night out.
My advice is that you spend as much time with those kids as humanly possible, because eventually they’re not going to want to see your tired old ass hanging around them anymore. It’s already starting to happen to my 13-year old and it kind of sucks. I understand it’s part of a natural progression, but it still sucks.
Glad you liked the show. The thing about theater is that, often, if you see one bad show, you don’t go back ever again. I’m not sure why that is. If you see a bad movie, you don’t swear off films. But it happens to theater. Weird.
I only charge £500 for a meeting. I’m cheap as chips, me.
I like Mariko’s sculptures. So fluid and clean. They make me feel calm.
The sculptures were particularly calming because it was a empty, quiet, clean gallery. The only thing missing was the spa music. A few bong hits beforehand might’ve been nice but I don’t do it anymore.
I have a terrible crush on Anne Hathaway. Something about the doe eyes. Is that sexist? I like male deers too, I mean their eyes are about the same as females, right? Does that make me – OK I’m sorry, I’ll leave now. Bye!
Well, brother, you’d have been in heaven, because that flight suit came off and you should see what’s going on underneath. I was going to walk down and introduce myself but knew where that would’ve led.
Sorry I’m late to the party Mark. i really like Hathaway’s acting. I’ve seen her interviewed a few times as well and she seems like a good person. very unassuming and self-deprecating. that play sounds very thought-provoking. Excellent pics Mark.
The art figures are neat. i enjoy patterns like that. Interestingly some seem to be Mobius strips and some are not – I was surprised by that,
Hi Paul. I didn’t see you sneak this one in. Hathaway has been through the public ridicule grinder and seems to handle it. I’m sure it hurts like hell but she doesn’t let it slow her down. I hope my daughters turn out as strong.
What’s up with you? Any new guest posts?
Hi Mark! My weekly coffee post is over at Mark B’s this week. \I have one post almost done that i have promised to Julie No Blog for her blog. It should be done in a day or two. Other than that not much cooking.
I am no modern art aficionado, but I do like pretty, and those sculptures – I like. A lot.
I don’t generally have an opinion on actors one way or another, but I do respect anyone who will put their money (and time) where their mouth is and support a cause like a local theater.