Fringe Fest: Hillary Agonistes

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She’s traveled a long way from being a sitcom siren. Priscilla Barnes, the last of the blond actresses to follow in Suzanne Somers’ footsteps in “Three’s Company,” has a new, tough gig. She’s starring as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the [NY Fringe Fest] production, [Hillary Agonistes](
Only Clinton’s no Senator in this one. She’s President of the U.S. and she’s facing a Rapture-like crisis. There are millions of people who have just disappeared from the planet, including none other than Bill Clinton. At least Chelsea is still around, but in this play she’s a Muslim convert, peace activist and not always so supportive of her mom.

It sounds like a mess, and sometimes it is, but Hillary Agonistes by Nick Salamone—who was smart enough to write several good cameo roles for himself—is also an example of that rare breed of political theater. It’s up-to-the-minute about the national and international mood, the threat of terrorism and how it’s interpreted from everyone from Rev. Pat Robertson to scientist Stephen Hawking.

In the middle of all this is Barnes, who could be spotted before a performance last week on a very hot Delancey Street, carrying what looked like it might be her own costume. Give Barnes credit for bravery. She dares to take to the stage in what a press release calls “part Greek tragedy, part blackest comedy.” Instead of living off sitcom residuals, she’s sweating for her art on Suffolk Street. And she’s playing Hillary Clinton—a role so tough that Hillary Clinton is not always believable in it.

8/19 @ 7pm
8/22 @ 4pm
8/23 @ 3PM

([CSV Cultural Center], 107 Suffolk St., betw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.)

Photo by Ed Krieger

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