Grounded review: A morality play about drone warfare | Tiger Dublin Fringe

When a female fighter pilot is moved to the Chair Force, the morality of remote warfare comes crashing down

Steely: Clare Dunne in Grounded

Steely: Clare Dunne in Grounded

 

Grounded

Project Arts Centre

****

 

“Grounded: The pilot’s nightmare.” So says Clare Dunne’s unnamed fighter, fuelled by adrenalin and short on reflection, when her wings are unexpectedly clipped by motherhood. Moved to the “Chair Force”, to operate a drone from the Las Vegas desert, she burns with the emasculation of “unmanned” aerial combat. Commuting to “the job, the war, whatever”, her blunt warrior becomes so surreally distanced in this limbo between family and battle that her sense of reality and her conscience steadily unravel.

In director Selina Cartmell’s measured and absorbing production, staged on Joe Vanek’s long-thrust stage, Dunne summons up runways, desert debris and pyramid-shaped casinos from a stack of chairs, while other objects – her flight suit, aviator sunglasses, even the click of a ballpoint pen – become ironic totems of remote control combat. Making contemporary surveillance, isolation, dislocation and monotony its subject, Brant’s play can lose firepower. But Carl Kennedy’s brooding music and Davy Cunningham’s exquisite lights conspire with Dunne’s steely performance to expose the moral consequences of somnolent warfare – before it all comes crashing down.

Until September 12th

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