February 12, 1999 12:00 AM

New York theater critics have embraced Calista Flockhart, who opened Off Broadway Thursday night in writer Neil LaBute’s study in evil, “Bash: Latter-Day Plays.” LaBute is responsible for directing such hard-to-digest movies as “In the Company of Men” and “Your Friends and Neighbors.” While some audiences find “Bash” (a series of lengthy monologues about such horrific topics as murdering infants) equally hard to digest — several walk-outs were reported during previews — New York Times critic Ben Brantley considers the play “transfixing.” The News found the show “uneven” but said “Calista has real punch.” Of the Ally MacBeal star (on summer vacation from her show), the Post says she “has so much command that she can age 15 years in a split second.” Paul Rudd and Ron Eldard co-star.

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