Frost/Nixon (Bush)

Stay with me, this isn’t a political post. Today, I went with some friends to see “Frost/Nixon,” a play about an interview Nixon gave after his resignation. The play recounted the indictments against Nixon, but I felt it was overall a little sympathetic to the man. More so, it was an interesting look at how one of the biggest moments of 20th Century journalism played out.

But what all of us talked about as we left the theater was the fact that President George H.W. Bush (the father) was there. People in Houston often swap stories about when they’ve seen the president around, and I’m always disappointed I’ve never been in the room with him. I’ve eaten at his favorite barbecue joint (Otto’s), his favorite pizza place (Fuzzy’s – Houston revolves around food if you can’t tell) and I always search for him when I’m at the baseball park or a charity gala. The guy just never shows up when I’m there. Today, though, we walked in right as the play was about to begin. As we sat, suddenly everyone stood up and began clapping. There was H.W. walking in with Barbara.

I always love it when the actors break the third wall. In the very first scene, as Nixon (played by Stacy Keech) is about to announce his resignation, he shouts, “Are there any Secret Service agents in the room?” The audience chuckled, then laughed, then applauded as it dawned on everyone how funny it was he was playing straight to the Bushes. He roared, “Then get out!” and quickly added, “I’m just kidding.” I’m not sure how much of that was his own addition, but it added some nice levity.

The themes of the play, being partly about how a man deals with life after the presidency, were interesting to consider in the presence of a former president. One couldn’t help but think how he viewed the play as his political career was taking off about the time Nixon’s was crashing. Doubly so, how he reconciles the worries he’s expressed about his son with this stark view of a man corrupted by power.

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