By Tulis McCall

Let’s cut to the chase.  Go see “N/A” at Lincoln Center.  Click on this link RIGHT NOW! And bring a guest with you.  Bring someone who is willing to be engaged and inspired.  This is a brilliant production. An engaging, intriguing script and actors who achieve perfection.

To be clear: “N/A” is not only ABOUT politics, it will immerse you in politics.

Sounds like not fun?

Au contraire.

Mario Correra‘s script imagines the way in which “N” (Holland Taylor)  – Nancy Pelosi (the first female Speaker of The House) and “A” (Ana Villafañe) – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (the youngest female member of the House ever elected) get to know one another over the space of nearly 4 years.  The script is dense, complicated and very very funny.  We are put on notice about the humor and incisive dialogue in the first few minutes.  N enters her own office to find A (having just won her first primary) broadcasting on Social Media.  She surprises A.

A – Where did you come from?

N – Baltimore. Where did you come from?

This is a skillful depiction of two of the most powerful women in Congress.  While N has more experience, A has a fire in her belly.  N understands the system that will create l-a-w-s that will change the country.  A only sees the big ticket, big picture items: Universal Health Care,  Green New Deal, abolishment of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) – and that is just for starters.

From the get-go N is out ahead of her junior.  Not only in the banter that these two engage in from moment One.  N has been in the House since before A was born.  While A sees the image of the project, it is N who knows where the nuts and bolts are located, and where the skeletons are buried.  A sees the goal and N sees the blueprint.  A does not see N as a radical, but N has been agitating for decades, while raising her 5 children.  Not a lot phases N.  Even the passion of A.  Anger and agitation are meaningless without results.  And numbers.  218 votes in the house and 60 in the senate.  Without those nothing will get done.

A does not take N’s prognostications lying down.  She fights back, and she fights hard.  The arguments are so convoluted (Taylor and Villafañe make it look way too easy) that we have to fasten our seat-belts and hang on.  Matters outside N’s office are noted.  A IS elected in 2018, N is re-elected Speaker (not without some visible arm twisting, and not without A noting her own power in casting her vote).  January 6 happens.

These two Members of Congress go toe to toe with every step.  They trade punches that hit.  Each takes the other down a few pegs.  But both return to the ring refreshed and energized.  They are sparring partners in the best sense because they understand the mechanics and lure of debate.  In other hands this could have come off as a cat fight. Not so here.  Under Diane Paulus’ direction these women reveal themselves as two mature souls duking it out because the stakes are high.  The survival of our country is on the table and each of these women is prepared not only to fight but to listen.

In the end, no one concedes.  No one gives up.  N is no longer Speaker, but she is still a member of Congress and a formidable one.  A has a plan she will not disclose, as well as a few years under her belt.  They both experienced the riot on January 6th.  Both know they would have been killed if they had been found.  Sadly, that is one thing they have in common.

We know there will be more plots and positions that these two will share, but not without a dust up or two.  What would be the point in that?

On the odd chance that you know ANYONE on the fence in the upcoming elections – bring them to see this show.  If they are still on the fence after seeing this production, turn the page and move on.

N/A by  Mario Correa (Dark Waters, TAIL! SPIN!,) directed by Diane Paulus

WITH Holland Taylor and Ana Villafañe

Myung Hee Cho (Scenic & Costume Design), Mextly Couzin (Lighting Design), Sun Hee Kil (Sound Design), POSSIBLE, Lisa Renkel (Projection Design)

Tickets can be purchased through www.NAThePlay.com or by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200.  Through August 4th.