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Suzanne Bradbeer's The God Game: A Litmus Test for Politicians

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Tom is a young rising political star, a moderate Republican senator. He's approached by Matt, an old family friend who works for a pretty right wing presidential candidate. The offer is made: would he like to join the ticket as the vice presidential nominee?

"There's just one catch," says playwright Suzanne Bradbeer. "We'd like you to sound more Christian. Can you just bump that up for us a little bit? They don't know that our character is actually an agnostic."

The God Game, the first offering of Stark Naked Theatre Company's 2014-15 season was inspired, in part, by the John McCain/Sarah Palin ticket (with some reversal of the characters' roles), says Bradbeer, who says she grew up in a liberal churchgoing household in Virginia.

"Seeing how the Christian Church had become so identified with right wing policies was disturbing to me." She says she was also interested in how candidates adjust their messages to get the greatest amount of support from voters. "This character wasn't meant to be John McCain but that was sort of the jumping off point."

A further plot twist in The God Game is that Tom's wife Lisa is a committed Christian and she doesn't want him lying about his beliefs.

According to Bradbeer: "None of the characters [played by Justin Doran, Philip Lehl and Kim Tobin-Lehl] are cookie cutter people. All of them have opinions that will surprise us and as audience members at least at some point in the play you see things from each character's point of view."

The God Game runs September 4-18 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Sundays, Monday; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays at Studio 101, Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street. For information visit starknakedtheatre.com or call 832-866-6514. $12-$40.

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