‘Frost/Nixon’ a glimpse into the present

Theaters everywhere are working hard to drag millennials into their audiences, so why would TheatreWorks Silicon Valley decide to offer the play “Frost/Nixon”?

It’s a 2006 play about a bit of television that happened in 1977, an exchange of wits between a slick British talk-show host and the only American president to ever resign the office.

“This play is even more current and engaging to millennials — and all ages — now than when we chose it (sometime in 2018),” said director Leslie Martinson. “We see Bob Woodward being interviewed, and John Dean, every night on the news. And there are podcasts. ‘Slow Burn’ by Leon Neyfakh, ‘Bag Man’ by Rachel Maddow. … The issues of how a president behaves and his press relations and the rule of law are crucial to millennials, given our current president.”

Woodward, of course, along with fellow Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, helped spur the Congressional investigation of Richard M. Nixon’s illegal abuses of power; John Dean was the White House attorney who ended up testifying against Nixon in the Watergate hearings, before going briefly to prison.

Nixon was pardoned for any possible crimes by his successor, Gerald R. Ford, so avoided prison.

“There is a curiosity in America about what happened in Watergate that just doesn’t go away,” said Martinson during an interview in December. “This play lives inside that curiosity. And, what a play can do that TV can’t do is that it gets you inside that curiosity. In the play we see the backstage events. Off camera is always enlightening.”

While Martinson and her team have certainly researched the era and the events thoroughly, the meat of the TheatreWorks production will remain Peter Morgan’s script. Morgan, who wrote “The Crown” and was one of the writers for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” isn’t one to let mere facts get in the way of what he considers the truth, or of entertainment.

At least one scene in “Frost/Nixon” — a drunken, late-night phone call from the president to Frost — never actually happened, but it remains a realistic portrayal of Nixon, who by other accounts was both extremely devious, and emotionally tortured. There is a lot of depth to be explored in this play, whether it is all entirely historically accurate or not.

In a sense, said Martinson, “it’s not American history, It’s current events.

“Examining that story of Richard Nixon would seem like good news, that a deceitful, dishonest president was caught

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment


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