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.