Actress Kathleen Turner has now officially taken up residence in the District for the two-month run of the play "Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins," to be performed at Arena Stage. On Wednesday night, she and Margaret Engel, a playwright with her twin, Allison, talked to an audience at the Newseum about how they fell for the late Texas-based liberal columnist.
"One of the unadvertised specials of being a journalist is you get paid to read, and so we spent a lot of time, my twin and I, not only reading everybody who wrote for our respective newspapers, but reading the best in the business, and soon we realized that Molly Ivins was the best in the business," said Engel, who penned "Red Hot Patriot" with Allison. "Funny, insightful, political, we hadn't met her yet, but she was 6 feet tall, red-haired, Texan and she had terrific intellect and a hard work ethic and she would report stories like crazy, but then make them funny -- so she was really our Mark Twain."
Turner shared in Engel's admiration, but often wondered what Ivins' life would have been like had she married and had kids. "One of the things I've always wondered is why she didn't ever find a man," Turner admitted. "I mean, she had loves, she had some loves in her life and lost them, the two main ones to death, one in war and one on a motorcycle, but I always wondered what that would have done to her if she had had a marriage and children -- I always thought it was such a shame."
Turner also spent time talking about her stage and screen career. The weirdest thing she mentioned? That a Supreme Court justice came to see her on the set of "Serial Mom." "You know that Sandra Day O'Connor came to the filming one day? Sandra Day O'Connor has come so see 'Serial Mom?' -- weird," Turner concluded.
"Red Hot Patriot" opens Aug. 23.