Donald Freed and Arnold M Stone
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall
In Secret Honour, Richard M Nixon, having been driven from the office of President of the United States, paces his room trying to record a defence of his reputation. This is an intense, one-character monologue performed by Steve Scott.
As Nixon runs through the key events of his career, he sidetracks to stories of his difficult childhood relationship with his parents and his later involvement with people who made him powerful or got in his way.
He speaks of his irritation with Kissinger and his anger at Kennedy. At times he is certain that he will be recognised as a man of the people who has achieved great things. But then his mood will plunge into frustration and disappointment. At one point he even contemplates shooting himself.
Steve Scott as Nixon conjures up the physical awkwardness and defensive arrogance that so characterised his public appearances.
The strength of this piece is the sheer energy of the performance both in the language of the script and Scott’s fine acting. Its weakness is the central revelation of what is meant by this fictionalised Nixon by the Secret Honour.
It is an improbable claim about mysterious, powerful figures who threatened a worse fate for America and this distorts the way we can see other aspects of the play.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna