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Secret Honor - The Last Testament of Richard M. Nixon

solo performance · bootcamp productions · Ages 14+ · one person show · United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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June 22, 2017 stage raw and la bitter lemons original article

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My overall impression

When Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May, there were immediate comparisons to Nixon and the Sunday Night Massacre. So it’s fitting that UK based company Bootcamp Productions have revived Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone’s 1983 play. We meet Nixon (Steve Scott) in his study, already drunk on scotch and dictating his memoir into a recorder (the irony of which does not go unnoticed). Acting as his own lawyer, Nixon defends himself to us, The American Jury. The play spirals into the mind of a madman who is a victim of his own desire for power. This is a complex and almost schizophrenic portrayal of a troubled (and guilty) man. The script is peppered with blips of his devotion to his mother, his severe Quaker upbringing, and his recruitment into the Committee of One Hundred Men — which leads to his rise, and ultimately his downfall.

As the character defends himself from his inexcusable actions, Scott renders a bumbling and desperate Nixon, making him both sympathetic and pathetic. For those who may not be familiar with historic details of the Watergate scandal, this may be somewhat hard to follow as the play jumps around. However, the play gives an intriguing insight to one of our most controversial political figures (even by contemporary standards).

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