Martha Mitchell Phones It In – Sort of. Play Review

November 4, 2008

While I liked the Nora Theatre Company’s production of Martha Mitchell Calling, I was under the presumption that the show would have more depth and a more complete story.

In fact, there were some actors listed in the program who got credit for voices, yet they never showed up on stage and the scenes and voices shown on screen at the back of the stage were all from news reports of the day.

Unless I’m mistaken, none of this richer content was used in the show.

Needless to say, the show was an interesting way for people my age to learn more about a time in our nation’s history many people would as soon forget. Until I went to the production I hadn’t even known about this woman and the effect she had on the presidency.

Shown in three, run-together acts, Annette Miller does an admirable job of carrying the production and allowing the audience to grow with Martha. We are given a complete background of her personality and of her relationship with John Mitchell.

We’re also – as stated in a Boston Globe review – shown how “Watergate was at once Martha Mitchell’s reason for fame and the cause of her destruction.”

The upside of the play was the acting of Miller and Timothy Sawyer as John Mitchell.

The downside was that if you didn’t grow up in an age where the instruments of information exchange were only TV, newspapers and radio, you’ll find some of this a little unbelievable. Especially in an age – and time (election day today) – where so much commentary and information is shared online.

The after-show discussion touched on this, but many of the mature audience members didn’t have a grasp on how far-reaching and influential the Internet has become. Many didn’t even know what a blog was and therefore still believe that there could be a Martha Mitchell in today’s administrations.

I believe they’re right. But the Martha Mitchells that we see today would be Twittering, blogging, podcasting and emailing their discoveries around the world instead of picking up a pink Princess phone and calling a reporter to discuss them.