Mc Minnville’s Gallery Theater’s contribution to the Cherry Blossom Theatre Festival will be a reader’s-theater style presentation of Peter Morgan’s powerful play Frost/Nixon.
For those who do not know or recall David Frost, he was a British import who arrived in the United States in the late 60’s and had a celebrated career as a young if somewhat chirpy TV interviewer of stars and celebrities through 1980.
In 1977, as his American popularity sagged, he teamed up with Richard Nixon for a series of interviews. Nixon, three years into his Watergate imposed retirement, was looking for a way to make a comeback. The two struck a deal which Frost had to finance personally because the networks would not touch the project. Frost filmed about 29 hours of interviews and approximately 4.5 hours were shown on national television over a patchwork network that Frost assembled.
The interviews were a success. in the end Nixon admitted certain errors and even apologized in a fashion to the country.
Morgan, who is currently the creator and writer of the Netflix show The Crown, became interested in the Frost Nixon interviews in 2006 just as he was working on a series of screenplays about Tony Blair and his erstwhile leadership of Britain especially his questionable role in the country’s entry into the Iraq War. While the play is in part a study of the misuse of political power, it also involves a look at the rampant ambition of both principals and the venal world of commercial television.
The Gallery’s performance will be a reprise of its 2017 production at the Kaleidoscope summer program in McMinnvile. The reader’s-theater style has actors seated on stage and rising to speak from scripts. There is limited movement and blocking. The cast has 11 performers some of whom have double roles. There is a special narrator added to read stage directions and move the story along in the reader’s format.
The show is directed by veteran Lance Nuttman and features most of the actors from the original production; only two had to be recast. Isaac Joyce-Shaw stars as Nixon and Wade Moran as Frost. When asked why the Gallery selected the play, Nuttman said “the script has always spoken to me and with the events of the last year or so it seemed like the perfect time to bring this award-winning show to an audience.” Many would agree; Frost/Nixon is a show for our times.
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