The God Game

The God Game

The God Game
By Suzanne Bradbeer
Directed by Tony Simotes
With T. Robert Pigott, Brian Brightman, and Cynthia Beckert
Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando FL

It’s so rare to see a good play about the Establishment Clause. Let’s look at the case of Senator Tom (Brightman) and his lovely wife Lisa (Beckert). They’ve kept the romance alive for 20 years and today is their anniversary. But a presidential election is brewing, and when Tom’s old buddy Matt (Pigott) shows up, Tom is in for a surprise. Matt works for the nominee, and was involved with Tom’s Brother until his death. But just because Tom and the nominee don’t see eye to eye, the consensus thinks they could win as a pair. That’s all very cool, but Lisa is unhappy for the intrusion, and more pointedly, Tom would have to fudge over his atheism and pretend to be a little more God fearing just to bring in those down state votes. Lisa is the sort that prays (unsuccessfully) over an injured bird, and she hates hypocrisy about Faith. Can Tom get by quoting Jesus without accepting his divinity? Only a real politician could thread this needle, and Tom really IS the right guy to do it.

Part family drama, part political meditation, this show takes a surprisingly frank and honest look at just how religion creeps into politics. Brightman really does look electable – he’s calm, speaks well, and considers problems from all sides before acting. Beckert’s wife is loyal and true and pissed off; she sort of gets the anniversary intrusion but draws the line at her husband’s potential hypocrisy even though she doesn’t hold God accountable for his. Pigott bounces off the walls as he tries to put a deal together by cell phone. He abandoned any pretense of a real life when he went into politics, so getting on the train with a winner at this level is all the satisfaction he has left. The niggling issue of Tom’s brother’s gayness seems well calibrated; most people will object to a candidate’s sex life but they tend to cut slack on their kin. An idealistic quality permeates this show; most people want politics to work like this: minor concessions on side issues to accomplish a greater good. Does that really happen? I suppose somewhere it does but once you step out of the Zehngebot-Stonerock black box, things get pretty rough.

For more information on Mad Cow, please visit http://www.madcowtheatre.com

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