By Ernest Kearney — This is the barest of bare-boned productions imaginable. However, it has two qualities going for it; the blistering play Secret Honor, The Last Testament of Richard M. Nixon, by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone and a scorching performance by Steve Scott. The play is a torrential tirade spewed by a scotch-soaked Richard M. Nixon, as he prepares to resign the presidency to avoid impeachment from his cover-up of the Watergate break-in.
The strength of the work is the seamless weaving of facts about Nixon – his devoutly Quaker mother, the untimely deaths of two of his brothers – with the vindictive and self-serving rantings reflecting the most tragic psycho-history of any man ever to occupy the presidency. (That is until #45.)
The play offers insights into the man, “To make it in this rat race, you gotta dream of failure every night.” And also into the reality of office, “In politics, victory is never total.”
Scott possesses the stage like a demonic whirling dervish in a dhikr of acrimonious disparagement and self-righteous flagellation, conveying both the disintegration of the man and defiance of the politician.
With no programs to refer to, I resorted to Google and found that Secret Honor and Scott received glowing notices at the Capitol Fringe Festival in D.C. in 2016 (The director then was credited as Nigel Fairs, but I won’t assume that’s the case here.)
The success of the performance is rooted in Scott’s intense portrayal of the cost and cancer that unchecked ambition demands and the damnation it brings.
Scott’s performance is a solid GOLD MEDAL.
♦ ♦ ♦
Secret Honor is Playing at
Asylum’s (Inter)national House
6500 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
Final Fringe 2017 Performance
Saturday, June 24, 2017 — 7:00pm
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