Sunday, June 17, 2012

Red Hot Patriot

Earlier this evening I drove over to Main Street Theater in Chelsea Square to take in a performance of Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins.

The one-act play tells the funny, down-to-earth story of Texan Molly Ivins, the famously brassy newspaper columnist and best-selling author.

Ivins, a true Lone Star original, was best known for her height, rusty red hair and sharp-tongued wit, which most often stuck it to our state and national politicians and the "good ol' boys." 

Ivins was the one who gave George W. Bush the nickname, Shrub. Admittedly, I've never forgiven her for that!

Ivins was also known for always telling the truth - at least the way she saw it. Her lens, of course, was that of a Liberal Democrat. She hated war and loved civil rights. She wrote often about both and could be counted among those who put her money were her mouth was. She was a huge supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union and did much to help start and support chapters throughout the country. 

Ivins was portrayed by actress Sara Gaston, well known to Houston audiences who frequent the Alley Theatre and MST. Gaston did a good job of capturing the essence of Ivins, though I don't think anyone could ever be as comfortable spitting out the four-letter words or throwing jabs as easily as Ivins herself. 

Ivins succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 62. The play addresses her battle with the disease too (blaming herself for not paying attention to her health) and the legacy she wanted to leave (encouraging us all to be active and informed citizens). 

Red Hot Patriot celebrates Ivins' courage and tenacity. It was written by twin sisters Margaret Engel and Allison Engel, themselves long-time journalists. I know Ivins' would have liked and appreciated that!

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