ELIZABETH STAHLMANN PHOTO BY CAROL ROSEGG
As a teenager, if you flunked algebra or had a bumper accident with the family car, you might find yourself grounded for a specified period of time with a lose of privileges attached. As an adult, however, being grounded would have incredibly different causes and equally divergent consequences. To enter the world of a female fighter pilot, a jock who is justifiably proud of her daring and courage in the face of danger, let playwright George Brant open the cockpit door. In "Grounded," you will discover an intimate and emotional conversation being conducted by Westport Country Playhouse until Saturday, July 29.
Elizabeth Stahlmann takes off on a one woman mission into the rarefied atmosphere of an Air Force officer whose career is suddenly sidelined by an unexpected pregnancy. One moment she is the commander of the skies, ruler of the blue horizons, shooting down the enemy, a military marvel, and the next moment she is literally and figuratively shot down herself, and earthbound without options.
Her days and nights are quickly peopled with a husband and baby daughter and her high powered controls are exchanged for toys, toddlers and domesticity. When she is finally ready to resume her mission and maneuvers, she finds, to her dismay, that the game plan has changed. No longer is she free to scan the skies from above, overseas where the action is. Her task is to command a drone stateside as a "chair force," conducting the war from thousands of miles away from the real action. For twelve hour shifts, she is forced to exchange her vast blue skies for grey screens and it takes a devastating toll on her psyche and mind. Elizabeth is fearless as she tackled this role, bringing to life all the trauma and trials of a woman who dedicated her life to protection, yielding power over the elements.
LIz Diamond directs this personal battle of purpose with a strong handed force. For tickets ($30 and up), call the Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off route 1, Westport, at 203-227-4177 or 888-927-7529 or online at www.westportplayhouse.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Watch how one woman, a soldier, takes control of her destiny and tries to fly free.