The Playgoer: David Hare: Man of the Moment

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

David Hare: Man of the Moment

Well whatever one might have thought about Stuff Happens or his occasional first-person "monologues" (like the recent--and unreviewed!--Berlin/Wall, which I missed), you gotta give David Hare credit for staying current.

His latest, The Power of Yes: A dramatist seeks to understand the financial crisis, seems very much along the lines of Stuff Happens in its methodology and is described thusly:

As sub-prime mortgages and toxic securities continued to dominate the headlines,
the National Theatre asked Hare to write an urgent and immediate work to be
staged this autumn that sought to find out what had happened, and why. After meeting with many of the key players from the financial world, he has created this work, which is described as "not so much a play as a jaw-dropping account of how, as the banks went bust, capitalism was replaced by a socialism that bailed out the rich alone."

Actually, maybe the credit should go to the National. They're certainly not shy in using the power of "commissioning." And while it would be nice to give that job to a less overexposed playwright...maybe someone on these shores will take up that idea?


Anonymous said...

I dispute the facile assumption that writing a play about a current/recent event makes it more relevant to the human condition. Maybe, maybe not. A play about, oh, I don't know, Albigensian heretics might prove just as timely and impactful. It's not the what, it's the how.

macrogers said...

It's an interesting paradox with Hare - he criticizes the powerful while fetishizing them. He's absolutely in love with corrupt, powerful characters. Watching or reading his plays, I feel a voyeuristic thrill if seeing inside the corridors of power more often than I feel outrage.

You make a good point about giving the job to a less overexposed playwright, but while that playwright might bring a much-needed stylistic freshness to the commission, they might not have the access to power that Hare has cultivated throughout his career.