Every summer, as the temperatures in Houston start to break into the low 100s on a daily basis, patriotism and pride in one's country also balloons. Texans, like all Americans, put flags on display and gear up for that grand summer tradition, The Fourth of July. In Houston, Main Street Theater is helping audiences get into the spirit with an inspiring and authentic theatrical experience, Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins written by Margaret and Allison Engel.
Sara Gaston is perfectly profound as Molly Ivins. She adeptly holds the audiences' attention for the full hour she is on stage, and delivers each line immaculately. Quite possibly, the most impressive aspect of her performance is that no line feels rehearsed. Instead, Sara Gaston delivers the words of Molly Ivins from a personal and natural place, embracing the heart and joie de vivre of Ivins. Without a doubt, the audience easily forgets that Ivins is not on stage herself.
Moreover, Sara Gaston articulates an amazing emotional journey in her portrayal of Molly Ivins. As the show opens, each audience member feels that they personally are in an office with Ivins as she is writing her apology to her father, that she affectionately refers to as "The General." Using this as a point of reference, almost like a narrative frame, Gaston's Ivins is able to effortlessly discuss the highs and the lows of her life. Each personal and affecting anecdote is peppered with humor, which as Sara Gaston's Ivins says, "when people laugh, they open up their ears and hear you."
As a show about woman that made her career writing about politics and politicians should, the show is also a powerful call to action. In its final moments, on a bare stage, Sara Gaston as Molly Ivins implores the audience to not sit idly by and let the current state of politics continue to exist. She empowers the audience to take a stand and make sure that politicians pay attention to the masses and not anything else.
Patti Bean's direction shines in the performance as well. For each moment that Sara Gaston touches and rouses the audience, the audience has to appreciate the collaborative effort that these women present to them. Both Bean and Gaston keep the show sincere and honest, making it relatable to audiences whether they have any prior knowledge of Molly Ivins or not.
When I interviewed Sara Gaston (Sara Gaston Talks 'Molly Ivins'" href="http://houston.broadwayworld.com/article/BWW-Interviews-Sara-Gaston-Talks-Molly-Ivins-20120611" target="_blank">http://houston.broadwayworld.com/article/BWW-Interviews-Sara-Gaston-Talks-Molly-Ivins-20120611), she told me that her goal was to make sure that she did justice to Molly Ivins. She wanted to remind those who knew her personally what they loved about Ivins and to help those that never had the opportunity to meet her feel like they had. In my honest opinion, I genuinely believe that Sara Gaston has accomplished this. This fantastic Texas treat is sure to be appreciated, and more importantly enjoyed, by all Texans, but especially Houstonians.
You too can enjoy Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins presented by Main Street Theater at their Chelsea Market location until July 1, 2012. In fact, you may even see me there as I'm already longing to experience the show again. For more information and tickets please visit http://www.mainstreettheater.com/mainstage/patriot.html or call (713) 524 - 6706.
All Photos courtesy of Kaitlyn Walker and Main Street Theater.
Sara Gaston as Molly Ivins
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David is a Special Education teacher with a passion and love for the performing arts. He aspires to become a full time theatre critic and/or professor of Drama as Literature. |
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