The melding of our current political arena with multiverse theory, Lucas Hnath’s Hillary and Clinton inspires the mind to wander and wonder within a special existence. The play is set in a world not much unlike our own, yet different. The stage is set as a hotel room in Iowa, before the 2008 Democratic Presidential Caucus, in which a woman, named Hillary, is running. The play dabbles in our own reality while diverging in fascinating ways. The aim of the play is not to create a replica of Hillary, the Clintons, or our presidential process; rather, it is an exploration of a person in a single time and place. This intriguing premise perhaps sells the play as Hillary Clinton magical realism, but what is presented onstage is quite different than expectations would have you believe.
Chay Yew directs Hnath’s piece with a clinical aesthetic, examining the world of the ultra-polished, career politicians and their henchmen. The set design (William Boles) reflects this sterile environment and offers a completely white hotel room framed by an exposed stage. Perhaps the color of the piece was to be the intense characterizations or colorful science behind the play. The characterizations were disembodied from the text and often felt directed to be sterile or inhuman; however, the science successfully transformed the audience’s imagination. In a time in which Americans are inundated with election theory and editorial, it’s disconcerting to see a clinical approach to a woman the media tells us we know (or we don’t know). Hnath’s piece succeeds in these moments where this glimpse into the multiverse challenges the woman, our imagination, and the politico, and shakes our collective conscious.
Hillary and Clinton runs until May 1st, tickets can be found at Victory Garden’s website.