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Election update: Hillary-inspired sitcom gets a new ending

The party line: Cecilia Corrigan, center, and the cast of “Motherland,” a play about Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House, rehearse for the show’s debut at Issue Project Room on Dec. 3.
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While Hillary supporters were tearing out their hair on election night, one Crown Heights playwright was tearing up her script.

An absurdist sitcom about Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency will have a newly re-written final episode for its debut at Issue Project Room on Dec. 3. The creator of “Motherland” says that, with the highest glass ceiling still intact, the capstone of the episodic series will be much more bleak than she originally planned.

“It’s not at all what I expected to happen. I’m rewriting the end of the show right now. And a lot of other parts of it,” said Cecilia Corrigan, who also plays Hillary’s daughter in the show. “Now it actually feels like the dark joke is not a joke anymore.”

Corrigan wrote four short episodes of “Motherland” throughout 2016, tracking the ups and downs of the presidential campaign. Each installment was filmed and posted online at Bomb magazine, and the Dec. 3 show will feature a screening of those episodes, followed by an hour-long live action finale.

“Motherland” takes place in Jerry Seinfeld’s 1998 apartment, where Hillary (played by Cammisa Buerhaus) must deal with visits from Greek gods, and with the media’s double standard for a woman running for America’s highest office.

“As the election evolved, I was frustrated with how much of a double standard there seemed to be toward Hillary as a woman, the desire for her to be both a good enough mother figure and also held to a higher ethical standard than the other candidates,” she said.

To address those mommy issues, “Motherland” depicts the presidential candidate as a sitcom mother of two, but also as an anti-hero who, in the original script, triumphs despite her flaws. Without spoiling the ending, Corrigan said that the newly written final scenes will tragically remind the audience of what might have been.

“It’s about the desire for a hero to come and save us, and it’s also about the dissatisfaction of that hero’s flaws and our inability to really support her until it’s too late,” she said. “I think the original ending at that point was a little more comic. It still had a serious tone, but it was more about her getting past everything. And now it has a much more wistful feeling to it, where it’s like a fantasy of what I think many of us deeply wish could have happened.”

“Motherland” at Issue Project Room (22 Boerum Pl. between Schermerhorn and Livingston streets Downtown, www.issueprojectroom.org.). Dec. 3 at 8 pm. $10 suggested donation.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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