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Nixon Finally Brought to Trial During 'Secret Honor' PAS Performance


January 8, 2003

[ Jon Farris Photo ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- Richard M. Nixon will be brought to trial in the one-person production, Secret Honor: The Last Tape and Testament of Richard M. Nixon, as part of the Ohio Wesleyan Performing Arts Series in Chappelear Drama Center on Jan. 18 at 8 p.m.

Secret Honor, written by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone, provides Nixon, played by Jon Farris, with the trial that he -- and society -- were never provided.

The 90-minute production has Nixon locking himself in a dark study, reviewing the events of his life and taking the audience along as observers. In a Cleveland Plain Dealer review of Secret Honor, Marianne Evett wrote, "what comes through is a complex picture of a man whose life is numbed by the knowledge that he was a loser in a society that worships winners."

Secret Honor, which was honored in 1985 for Best Production and Best Season of Acting by the Cleveland Critic's Circle, is not a Nixon bashing ceremony, as the authors promise that everyone will see the man through different eyes following the performance. In an article by Katherine Doud, of the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette, Farris said, "I know it (the play) will entertain and if it causes anyone to think even a little bit about themselves, about American politics, about this American president ƒ then it will have fulfilled its function to instruct."

"Farris gives a crazy, moving, brilliant performance," Evett continued. "We see Nixon in all his helpless paradoxes, screaming with rage or weeping sentimentally, affirming the greatness of America and revealing his own hatred of Jews, liberals, homosexuals, aristocrats, blacks, almost everybody, including, most of all himself."

Farris is an acclaimed performer, appearing in more than 25 productions and three feature films. He has served as chair of Denison's Department of Theatre and Cinema since 1981 and received the Jonathan R. Reynolds Distinguished Chair in Theatre in 1994. He has directed more than 20 productions at Denison and served as the Visiting Associate Professor at Dartmouth College in 1985. Farris earned his Bachelor's Degree from Harding College, his Master's Degree from the University of Wisconsin and his Doctorate from Tufts University.

Secret Honor and all Performing Arts Series productions are open to the public, with tickets costing $15 for adults and $5 for students. For general or ticket information, call 740-368-3629. The final production of the 2002-03 Performing Arts Series will be The Jacques Thibaud String Trio on Feb. 16 in Gray Chapel.