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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Red-Hot Cigarette


                The play lives up to all the hype surrounding the incomparable Molly Ivins.   Crisp and tight writing by journalists, and twins, Margaret Engel and Allison Engel quickly transports the audience into the sharp edged world of Ivins.  Equally crisp, and slightly sparse, staging (by John Arnone) helped and under the direction of David Esbjornson, I could almost feel the newsprint on my fingers. 
I learned a bit more about Ivin’s personal life, her key relationships, specifically her father “the General,” than I expected and less about the source of her “kick ass wit.”  This is Molly Ivin’s biography. While her story is at least as interesting as anything else on stage these days, the play is not really ‘about’ her wit.  It contains a good amount of the real Molly Ivins wit and repartee to make the 75 minutes move quickly and enjoyably.   It’s only gingerly theorized that Ivins spent her life, consciously or unconsciously dedicated her professional career responding to “The General.”  When in fact, the real Molly Ivins had so much more to say and I’ll just accept that some things, like the “kick-ass wit of Molly Ivins” must remain a mystery.
I love Kathleen Turner.  She is one of the few actors who can, in my book, do no wrong.  I wish she had quit smoking cigarettes about 10 or 20 years ago.  It was difficult to hear her and when I was able to hear, it was a bit painful to listen to her. 
I still recommend that you see this play.  It is refreshing in this time of watered-down, pristine, journalism and propaganda scantily clad as well researched editorial.  What Molly Ivins represents to me is the courage it takes to say the obvious and the fact that she had the ability to spice it with that kick-ass wit never cheapened what she had to say.  She said the truth over and over again.  And I miss that. 
I miss cigarettes too, sometimes.