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Life After Bush - What a Concept!
by Sherri Rase| >> see bio
Photo by www.Here.org

Amanda Sisk and Noah Diamond's brainchild "Life After Bush," playing now through November 2nd at HereArts, is subtitled "The End of An Error" and indeed it is. "Life After Bush" is all that issues-passionate quasi-partisan people could hope for in a show where sketch comedy collides hilariously with song.

The show runs 90 minutes with no intermission in one of the most gracious black box spaces I've seen. Minimal sets pieces are painted in patriotic primary colors (both meanings of the word "primary"). They are moved in the semi-twilight of the combined glow of Exit signs and the projector screen that occupies the space a curtain or scrim ordinarily would. The accompanist, almost silent-movie style, is semi-concealed, bracketed by two small black curtains so that the light burning from his tiny lamp (metaphor?) won't disturb the proceedings.

The evening opens with the Country Doctor-he heals countries, not people-taking an emergency visit from the US-and she is ailing. She's got a bad case of Bush!

The cast members all play multiple roles and Noah Diamond and Amanda Sisk first appear as the Country Doctor and the Country Nurse. This sets the stage for the US, portrayed by Sadrina Johnson wearing the gown of Lady Liberty, and from this beginning, we are transported through the WayBackSortaForward machine of the show to the beginning of the Primary process and find out how the heck the US got into the terrible shape she's in. And thus, it begins.

The cast, well rounded out by Tarik Davis, Brian Louis Hoffman, Kim Moscaritolo and Avi Phillips, is truly an ensemble and each gets a number of chances to shine. The general feeling of the show is that of a cadre of passionate civics students, who look through the glass of politics darkly, but with humor. We are conducted through the last year, or so, of the George W. Bush administration, while being a party, pardon the pun, to the Primary process as well. There are several very funny vignettes.

One of the highlights of the show for me was the suite from "Evita," which documents the point at which Hillary Clinton determined that she would turn her energies elsewhere. We have a Greek chorus providing background, with the Commentator providing the event horizon. The costuming and myriad wigs the actors wear throughout suggest the characters without being grotesque--with one exception, intentionally grotesque--and we have a very clear view of the passionate chameleon candidate and her rainbow coalition.

Another telling sketch is the imaginary meeting between John McCain's pastor and Barak Obama's on a bus bench. Each shared his own worldview, parts of which were interesting and parts were "Halloween: The Political Edition." The truth of course is somewhere in the middle, but where? And each had much to ponder after the exchange.

Throughout the course of the show, you never lose the thread of the narrative, check your watch, or make a laundry list. "Life After Bush" is an engaging multi-media experience with a talented and arch cast. Such numbers as "Corporations Are People Too" and "Triangulation" highlight many of the talents of the ensemble. You have a talented pool of singers/dancers/actors/writers with a very worldly view.

"Life After Bush" has an end that returns to its beginning. The ailing US manages, with a small amount of exposure to the John McCain/Sarah Palin variation of the Bush virus, to begin to heal herself. And the message is as we all look in the mirror of current events, whether we like what we see now, we all have the power to make change. We all have a "Life After Bush".

"Life After Bush is playing at HereArts Center, 145 6th Avenue, between Spring and Broome Streets. This show only runs through November 2, but there is a special event on Election Night, when the cast will be viewing the returns in character, so don't miss it! Visit www.Here.org for tickets or call the box office at 212/352.3101. Make sure to stop in the café before or after the show-it's a gem!

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