Second Thought Theatre – HILLARY AND CLINTON Review by Gadi Elkon

She was destined for this. She had prepared her entire life for this. And yet, one fateful New Hampshire evening in January 2008, she sees it all beginning to slip through her fingers. Exhausted but not yet discouraged, with spirits, funds, and poll numbers all on the decline, the woman who would be president finds herself questioning, for the first time, whether her dream will ever become her reality. Hillary and Clinton is “a work of total fiction” about a woman named Hillary, a man named Bill, and the distance between who we are and who we’re meant to be.  

Second Thought Theatre's – HILLARY AND CLINTON – Written By Lucas Hnath & Directed by Laura Colleluori 

A Review By Gadi Elkon

Lucas Hnath's thoughtful look at "a woman named Hillary, a man named Bill" opens by being upfront and honest to it's audience.  HILLARY (Stormi Demerson) makes us immediately ponder what if our world was merely one among millions and thus there are many ways this story will and has unfolded.  The play dives straight into a few key interactions Hillary has with her campaign manager MARK (Jim Kuenzer), her husband and former President BILL (Barry Nash) and her opponent, the slyly titled, THE OTHER GUY (Sam Henderson).  In these interactions we gain valuable insight into the tricky world Hillary is immersed and just how hilarious, burdensome and heartbreaking her choices have become.

Stormi Demerson is completely captivating with her ability to dive back and forth from strong-willed presidential hopeful to fearful candidate unique like none before her.  How many wives of former President's have run?  Stormi has a knack for never losing our gaze even when surrounded by her louder male counterparts.  She is the one we are most intrigued by and her ability to hold onto our attention showcases a tremendous talent.  Barry Nash showcases the most diverse performance outside Stormi as we get to see his boastful side as well as him broken down and defeated.  Barry seems to glide through his scenes and hits the "Clinton" aura so perfectly.  Jim Kuenzer's MARK easily is the most entertaining and the punch line element that Lucas Hnath has in his work.  The hilarity of Jim's performance is such a refreshing element that keeps the energy high for the full 85 minutes production.  Sam Henderson is solid and stoic as his character is much more a vessel to give us the ultimate rift between Bill and Hillary that leads to our moving ending.  Laura Colleluori's direction is obviously tilted towards allowing her actors to be front and center.  The work is all about what they are saying and not saying in each scene.  The production design is sparse minus a bed and normal hotel decor with chalk outlines showcasing key stage areas for the actors.  As the audience, Laura has us looking down into the direct action and no need to hide from our judgemental eyes.  Let's face it Lucas' play will hit you differently depending on your political leanings and yet it never comes across "political" or points fingers.  Instead we get to witness the raw interactions of these people and their real responses.  The play really harps strongly on the opening dynamic of this concept of multi-universes.  The ending revisits this idea but with the Bill there to give just the right response to the question of why we are here.

STT has always looked to works that aren't typical and rather finds plays that are conversation starters.  HILLARY AND CLINTON isn't something groundbreaking but it sure is something that will make you discuss the merit of what we do with the world we live in.  Are you in the here and now or thinking about some far off world that has it's own ending?  As Bill says in this play, "We don't know how our story ends till we leave this world".  So just live in the here and now.  Just enjoy the world you are apart of and will only truly know.  Don't miss out on figuring out your own answers.  The production has two more weeks in it's run.

Jan. 10 – Feb. 3, 2018 at Bryant Hall – For More Info please Go HERE!