Existential crises, daily pressures, and the looming threat of motherhood are combined with provocative politics in “Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant,” a one-woman show written and performed by Iowa actress Megan Gogerty. Grinnellians packed into The Wall Theatre on Tuesday and saw a piece that effortlessly mixes the personal with the political, offering audiences a creative way to reflect on the past eight years and conclude an historic inauguration day on a comedic note.
The show opens with Gogerty, a diehard Hillary Clinton fan, standing in line at a Clinton book signing, obsessed with the character of Clinton more than her politics. But the impact of Sept. 11 turns her into a political junkie. Gogerty’s newfound activism brings a weekly current-events chat with her mother, a past Peace Corps volunteer with a shrine to the “saints of liberalism,” which includes a bust of JFK.
Throughout the show, Gogerty is animated, able to convey both hysteria and exuberance, delivering jokes and thoughtful reflections with vibrant energy. When recounting Bush’s re-election in 2004, Gogerty lies on the floor curled in the fetal position. Later, when describing her pregnancy, she stuffs a pillow under her shirt and waddles across the stage. Subtle lighting, periodic soft music, and a few simple props accommodate Gogerty’s larger than life personality.
Clinton makes her triumphant return late in the show with the start of the epic 2008 campaign.
Gogerty questions whether to devotedly support her idol–a hesitant Hillary who has become the Senate’s version of Hermione Granger–or back a bold, articulate Obama. In a nutshell, Gogerty’s struggle epitomizes that of many Democrats who found themselves torn between two equally viable candidates.
Ultimately, she decides that Clinton missed her moment and should have run in 2004, opting instead for the transformative candidacy of Obama. Gogerty’s major political shift is followed by a major and unexpected change in her life: she gets pregnant. Like politics, Gogerty notes that giving birth is “not pretty or tidy.”
The play, a loose but linear exposition of the last eight years, is thoughtfully playful. Gogerty is brilliantly real as she recalls the self-deprecating lows and epiphany-inducing highs of her personal life and political views. The show is an enjoyable way to relive the Bush years in a personal, lighthearted fashion.
Gogerty ends the show on the eve of the 2008 election, the victor still unknown. With Barack Obama newly sworn in as our 44th president, though, the audience cannot help but smile. We already know the ending.