Friday, January 23, 2015

Is Julie Taymor right for Grounded?

So, suddenly there's an announcement. Julie Taymor. Anne Hathaway. Grounded. Tickets already on sale, and going fast.

Anne Hathaway
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Psiff
It's my turn to order tickets, so I check the available dates. I have a subscription to the Public with three other people, plus another friend has asked to join us. In short order, we are down to only a dozen possible dates. I go to the Public and wait 25 minutes as the one person in line ahead of me asks a million questions, and not particularly politely.

Grounded is at the Anspacher. After spending close to 3 hours looking at people's butts during the Normal Heart, I will no longer sit on the side there.

So I go into negotiations with the amazingly patient box office guy, and my friends and I end up with 5 out of 6 of the left box seats for a Saturday matinee, despite our general aversion to Saturday matinees.

(A big part of the problem is that the Public has sent aside the lion's share of the center seats for people with Amex and $150/seat. Not their most public moment.)

And then I trip on the stairs and bang up my knees. And later, the rush over, the ice bags on my knees, talking to one of the friends I'm going with, the question arises, "What the heck is Julie Taymor doing directing Grounded?"

I saw Grounded when it was Off-Off-Broadway. It made my top 10 for last year. It's an excellent play. The one character, known as the pilot, talks about her life as a pilot. In this simple structure, it is chilling, thought-provoking, and intimate.

Intimate. Not a word one associates with Julie Taymor. Actor-focused. Not a phrase one associates with Julie Taymor.

Here's what I hope: Taymor, annoyed by all the reviews of Midsummer Night's Dream saying how she can't direct actors, has decided to show us what she can do on a much smaller palate.

Here's what I fear: Taymor will take Grounded and Taymor-ize it, with stunning visuals.

I love Julie Taymor. I think she's brilliant. I think she's not right for Grounded. I look forward to her proving me wrong.

1 comment:

Cameron Kelsall said...

Hoping that Taymor's work is a pleasant surprise here. She doesn't seem the natural choice for the material--I wonder how she became attached--but given the opportunity and a talented actor to work with, the results could be surprising. (I'm still hoping against hope there will be a ticket left when non-members can start to book)