It’s June 2009. Hillary Clinton (Priscilla Barnes) has ascended to the Oval Office. Suddenly, without warning, 65 million people, including Bill Clinton himself, vanish from the Earth. The evangelical crowd is incensed and bewildered — if this is the Rapture, how come so many true believers, Pat Robertson among them — have been left behind? In Congress, Republican legislators blame the president and are threatening impeachment. The commander in chief is panicked: What should she do? Should she blame extraterrestrials, as a top military adviser (writer Nick Salamone) counsels, or co-opt the religious zealots by painting her own apocalyptic scenario? A satiric fable, what’s most involving about the play is not so much Salamone’s critique of the flesh-and-blood politician as his representation of the ongoing battle in this country between right-wing religion and reason — here internalized in Hillary herself. Directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, Barnes nails the externals of her role but becomes so tangled in its caricature as to miss its deeper implications — though she does have effective moments, if not as a world leader, then as Chelsea’s mother. A bland Jean Gilpin as her chief of staff and closest confidante, and a strident Rebecca Metz as a confrontational Chelsea (she’s converted to Islam) both disappoint. Salamone, who plays five characters — including Stephen Hawking, a right-wing theocrat and a gay cardinal — brings a welcome vitality to the production.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Mon., May 12, 8 p.m. Starts: May 9. Continues through June 1, 2008

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