Monday, November 24, 2008

Hillary: A Modern Greek Tragedy With a (Somewhat) Happy Ending

Photo/Jim Baldassare

If you think about it--not a lot, but a little--Hillary Rodham Clinton's life somewhat resembles a Greek tragedy. She's undone by the very things she required to get where she was, almost as if she were caught in a battle between the unyielding warrior, Athena, and the free-love queen, Aphrodite. Such is the thought behind Wendy Weiner's Hillary: A Modern Greek Tragedy With a (Somewhat) Happy Ending, which leaps to its own conclusions, knowing full well that the task itself isn't as important as the lesson learned (or the laughs earned). Director Julie Kramer dodges the double-edged sword of the gimmicky premise by indulging in camp, and the mock history lesson gets by on clever usurpations of classic myths. Which part of Bill Clinton do you think his mother forgot to dip into the sacred spring? Where else would the gate to the underworld be but Newt Gingrich's cellar? What's striking is that while Darren Pettie's Bill and the four-person Chorus all go for laughs, we can watch Mia Barron (Hillary) struggle, time and time again, between ambition and humanity, emotion and success. That she fails and may still succeed is a heartfelt gift from the gods.

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