Share your thoughts

TimeLine’s Chicago premiere of Frost/Nixon has been running for three weeks now and the response has

been extraordinary! Many of Chicago’s theater critics have already had their say (read all the professional critical response at our website …) but we want to give you a chance to share your own review, comments, or questions about the production below.

In particular, we are wondering: So many people feel a connection to this story — the people, the politics. Why does a news interview from more than 30 years ago still evoke such drama and emotion? What do you think the contemporary relevance of Peter Morgan’s play is?

Andrew Carter as David Frost (left) and Terry Hamilton as Richard Nixon in "Frost/Nixon."
Andrew Carter as David Frost (left) and Terry Hamilton as Richard Nixon in “Frost/Nixon.”

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Comments (23)

  1. Caroline Moore

    I absolutely loved it. I was so excited before the first interview that I was wriggly. There was a great sense of dramatic tension and then also it was so moving in the last interview. I don’t know that I felt it was particularly ‘relevant’, but to me it was interesting to learn about something I didn’t experience because I was a teenager living in England, and it was just a good story.

  2. Alice Gutenkauf

    My friends the Warsawsky’s and I thoroughly enjoyed the play. The characters were well acted and altho’ I haven’t seen the movie I understand it was very close to it and the actual interview. I especially liked the “narrator” role and the actions of the other players as well as the main characters.

  3. Alice Gutenkauf

    As an addendum: I thought the last interview was great because I was delighted to see Nixon’s downfall and admission done so well. Having seen the original address on television, I thought the portrayal was very well done.

  4. Sid Mitchell

    I thought the play was extremely well done. I had seen the play before, as well as the movie, this was the best. The superb acting and intimacy of the theater caused for a very delightful night. I enjoyed the discussion afterward but thought the very liberal comments by both students in the audience and one of the actors left something to be desired. Nevertheless, I highly recommend the play. It will be a real contender for a Jeff Award nomination.

  5. Peter Flynn

    The performances were, as one expects from TimeLine, highly professional. TimeLine’s version of Frost/Nixon compares well with Writer’s Theatre’s play, a couple of years ago, about Nixon and Kissinger — which is meant to be high praise, since Writer’s Theatre sets a very high standard.

    The e-mail from you which prompted me to offer a comment asked a different, and intriguing, question: Why does Nixon still fascinate us? I think we are conflicted about him in part because we are similarly conflicted about the presidency itself (we want our presidents to be good persons and role models, but at the same time to be capable of down-and-dirty if necessary to confront the Bad Guys du jour), and in part because Nixon’s complex and complexly flawed personality finds some echo, of some sort, in nearly all of us. At root, both of those ideas harken straight back to Sophocles and Aeschylus, don’t they, and the tragic-hero concept of a virtue which is its own fatal flaw.

    Nixon was enormously smart, enormously gifted with vision (not always true of smart people), and enormously ruthless. So was, say, FDR; but we think differently of FDR. That may be true partly because in the 1930s and 1940s there were areas treated as off-limits to journalists, while by Nixon’s time the rules had begun to melt. (Ironically, Nixon’s own downfall probably accelerated and empowered that same melting.) But just as importantly, if not more so, we perceive Nixon as not in control of his ruthlessness, which (rightly or wrongly) is not how we think of FDR.

    Much of this is Nixon’s own fault: he really did believe that if the President does it, it isn’t illegal, which is a hideously dangerous notion. (But, don’t you think, not all that uncommon in highly placed people. Witness Enron. Witness Ms. Fiorina bugging her own Board of Directors. Witness Mr. Hurd’s recent exit from the same company. And so on.) We derive a catharsis — yes, the Greek-tragedy kind — from seeing that particular form of hubris bring Nixon down. And we who were around in 1974 remember that as the real focus of the whole business. Nobody really gave a damn about the “second-rate burglary.” It was the cover-up, the erased tape, all that stuff which said loud and clear that “I am above the law,” which really made the hair on the back of the neck stand up. We needed to, and did, say a strong No! to that view.

    Still, it’s as true a tragedy as if Nixon were Oedipus or Agamemnon. Only the great can be that greatly flawed, perhaps. It is a pity that Nixon’s very great accomplishments are buried under the suffix “-gate.” We might do well to remember, for example, that it was Nixon who saw the need for, and caused to be created, the Environmental Protection Agency.

  6. Jerrold Levine

    We saw the play Wed. 9/1, and thought it was excellent. Interestingly, when we came home that evening, the Gary, IN PBS station was having a fundraiser and offered the entire actual Frost/Nixon tapes as a prize for contributing $200. They then aired the entire last interview. I watched spellbound. The real interview was far better than the play. The dialog was identical; however, the real life Nixon was much softer and less cunning or abrasive than the actor in the play. In the real interview, Nixon didn’t stall or obfuscate or play games with Frost. He was already a defeated character, and came across as a very sympathetic human being. Today we like to think of Nixon as evil, and the sharp portrayal in the play appeals to our prejudices, but a truer portrayal would have been more nuanced. I believe that would have enhanced the play, but may have been too hard for the actor to portray, or for the audience to accept.

  7. Muriel Glick

    I saw the play on Setpember first and found it everything I had hoped it would be and more. The script itself is superb; concise in a positive way but focused on the real issues that were critical in getting Richard Nixon to acknowledge his responsibility for the Watergate fiasco. I was especially taken with Andrew Carter’s performance. I know that he’s a relatively young man who likely was not born when this tragedy in our government occured, or perhaps was a baby. In any event, he certainly could not have had any first-hand experience with this historical incident. But based on his performance, he clearly had done his homework and absorbed the significance of what everything that happened meant to our nation, so much so that when in the final questioning, his transitioned to an interviewer who truly understood the significance of the questions he was asking and the answers that Mr. Nixon was giving him was truly amazing. I look forward to seeing more of this “rising star.”

  8. Carol

    I thought the play was great! I’ve never seen the movie. As with a book a play is always much better than the movie. The cast was excellent! Another fine TimeLine production!

  9. Arlene Ghiron

    I thought the projection of the faces on the screen and TV from live filming and saved footage really added to the sense of the drama. Great casting. The comments I heard from the TV expert on the scholars program nicely put the episode in the context of TV history.

  10. Peggy Sullivan

    The play was well done. I Especially liked the fact that little or no attempt to make the actors look like the actual people. I had seen the movie, but have little or no memory of the actual telecasts of the interviews. Somehow, I just was not paying attention at that time. I do think Nixon must have been one of the most complex presidents we have ever had. The play offers more context for Frost than for Nixon, although I also believe that Nixon was one of the presidents most affected by his wife, her views, etc. Interesting that all of that was omitted, barely noted. Many technical points, uses of the limited space, etc., were very well handled.
    I don’t know why this play is of such interest to people, but it is encouraging that it is. Perhaps TimeLine should be Chicago’s “think theatre.”

  11. Ruth Swislow

    I think you did an excellent job with Frost/Nixon. You had to shorten it considerably and still make it work.

  12. Randy Barba

    We thought the play was terrific and absolutely engaging. We were graduate students at the time and didn’t even own a TV so this was quite educational as well. We never saw the interviews. I thought the play did a superb job at getting under the skin of both characters and bringing their emotions and challenges to life. Even our crusty daughter who had seen the movie thought the performance was superior and worth her time! Further, it was a wonderful follow-on to the Farnsworth play. All in all, I think Timeline is remarkable in personalizing major historical events with direct relevance to our current time. Keep up the great work.

  13. Randy Blecha

    Very powerful presentation, condensing content without losing the basic story. Excellent acting.

    What I found most intersting was self-analysis. At the time ,I was a cynical young adult, deeply resentful of Nixon and Agnew and firmly opposed to the war in Viet Nam. As I watched the play as a 61 year-old man, I found myself looking at it with a different perspective. However, in the final analysis, no less condemning of the actions of these crooks.

  14. peggy viehweger

    Absolutely LOVED it! I was mesmerized and thought everyone was masterful. I saw it on Broadway but did not see not the movie. Both Frost & Nixon were perfect, brought more depth I thought than the Broadway actors (both of whom I like very much).
    I just love TimeLine, the intimacy, etc. I always try to be there fore the discussion runs.
    Thanks for your continued fantastic work and count on me as a long term subscriber!
    Peggy Viehweger

  15. kb

    a really great shew! cannot wait for the next 3 !!

  16. John Sterling

    This was an outstanding production. Both Andrew and Terry were phenomenal as Frost and Nixon respectively. Better than impersonations, the performances provided insights into the characters (historical and theatrical).

    Morgan’s take on the interviews (and particularly on Nixon) left me with a huge dose of ambiguity. I was very young during the Nixon presidency and grew-up with a clear understanding of his criminality (not just the Watergate cover-up, but more grievously the illegal expansion of the war into Cambodia). The play forces one to confront the man’s achievements and his humanity.

    As always, TimeLine has produced another gem and set a standard for anyone who chooses to mount this play. Given the sold-out run and the inability to extend, I have great sympathy for those shut-out at the box office.

    Congratulations to everyone involved in this wonderful production.

  17. Joan W.

    We have seen a number of productions at the Timeline, and have NEVER been disappointed. Frost/Nixon was one of the best (hard to pick one when you’re talking about Farnsworth Invention, All My Sons, History Boys, etc……). The acting was fantastic, and the production and set were perfect for this play. Keep them coming!!!

  18. An ever-changing role « Behind the ‘Line :: TimeLine Theatre Company Blog

    […] in our season — come together to chat with members of our audience. That conversation, along with this blog, Facebook, Twitter and our other post-show discussions throughout the run of a show, always offer […]

  19. Glen Prezmbel

    Easily the best performance we’ve seen the wonderful Terry Hamilton deliver.

    A powerful production overall, one of Timeline’s finest.

  20. fred broitman

    My wife and I enjoyed the play very much and we agreed with the review in the Wall Stret Journal about how alike in many ways the 2 characters were and he did not get that connection from either the movie or the NY production. High praise from them, indeed.

    Fred Broitman

  21. Mary Herrington-Perry

    Thank you for yet another amazing experience! I left the theatre feeling a little more compassionate about Nixon than I’d ever imagined possible. It’s good to get over old grudges!

  22. Richard Auman

    The Nixon-Frost drama is still compelling because the imperial presidency is still with us.

    TimeLine’s production was fascinating and troubling.

  23. Mark Kearns

    A very enjoyable performance, and an excellent choice of topic.

    For those of us who remember the late ’60s and early ’70s, it was such a complex time, that I think most of us are still trying to understand it. Add to that a highly complex president, and we are still trying to understand him as well. Timeline’s Frost/Nixon strongly appealed to that search for understanding.

    Now we live in a society that has really begun to grasp the incredible power of images and the media, both for good and for ill. Nixon was at the forefront of much of this, with the Nixon/Kennedy debate, the media exposure of the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, and the Frost interviews. Timeline’s Frost/Nixon allowed us to relive some of that history through 21st-century eyes, having an even deeper understanding of the powerful psychological impact of those images and interviews than we were able to have at that time.

    In a similar vein, perhaps a good subject for a future production would be Walter Cronkite.