“N/A” Nancy Pelosi & AOC smart debate on ideology & politics

By Lucy Komisar

Holland Taylor as Nancy Pelosi and Ana Villafañe as AOC, photo Daniel Rader.

This is a clever pas de deux by Mario Correa of two important Democratic women in Congress disagreeing about the ideals, commitments, beliefs of their party.  Or of those Democrats who purport some values. Nancy (Holland Taylor) in a pink suit (which must denote some female tradition), is quite believable as a politician. She did a memorable turn as Texas governor Ann Richards in “Ann.” Ana Villafañe as AOC in a black pants suit is brilliant in her portrayal. If the real AOC was there, nobody could tell the difference. Playwright Correa, who worked in the congressional office of Constance A. Morella, has got the dialogue and differences down perfectly, the acting is fine, and the staging by director Diane Paulus is direct, as it should be.

Pelosi is the first woman Speaker of the House, then the Democratic Minority Leader. AOC is the youngest woman elected to that chamber.

Ana Villafañe as AOC and Holland Taylor as Nancy Pelosi, photo Daniel Rader.

They have a serious conversation after AOC defeats a powerful Democratic politician. Pelosi wants to persuade her that change happens only if you get the 218 votes in the House to pass a bill. OAC argues the issue is the system of power — that representing the political elite, the establishment, gets nowhere.

Pelosi asks why is she there. OAC: “To save this planet–a Green New Deal. To end to the militarization of our border–abolish ICE. To guarantee affordable, universal health care: A single payer medical system. Tuition-free college, criminal justice reform, a federal jobs guarantee—”

Pelosi: “That’s a good start.”

AOC “Is it? You’re on record against most of this agenda.” Pelosi: “Agenda? That’s an Amazon wish list. Load it up!”

Holland Taylor as Nancy Pelosi, photo Daniel Rader.

Pelosi argues that she has fought to end racism. OAC points out that Pelosi represents women of wealth, generational privilege.

AOC wants to abolish ICE, a gestapo paramilitary force. One needs morality to lead. Pelosi: Not over the cliff.

Pelosi is angry about so few women in Congress. OAC has a different take on the numbers: “It’s not about two parties. “

Pelosi: “I would like to see the legislative language needed to enact this so-called ‘framework’ as well as the coalition you would put together of no less than 218 House members plus 60 Senators to pass it and the new President you will elect to sign it.”

Ana Villafañe as AOC, photo Daniel Rader.

AOC says that’s “pixie dust. We sprinkle it around like that absolves us of our responsibility to make the promise of this country a reality.”

As the debate went on, audience members applauded as if they were at a political rally.

A fine production by Paulus and the actors, an excellent take by Correa of the conflict between soi-disant “progressive” Democrats in Congress.

N/A.” Written by Mario Correa, directed by Diane Paulus. Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center, 150 West 65th Street, NYC. 212-239-6200. Runtime 80 min. Opened June 27, 2024, closes Aug 4, 2024.

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