Stuff Happens by David Hare

“It took an artistic director in Los Angeles,” Hare says, “Gordon Davidson at the Mark Taper Forum, who did it as the last play of his 35-year tenure as artistic director, and said, ‘I can only do this play because I’m leaving after I do it.’ The fact that it sells out wherever it’s performed,” Hare continues, “doesn’t seem to sway minds at all. People would rather have empty theatres where people are passing crumpets to each other than full theatres with plays about contemporary events. I don’t know why.” -from Theatre: Stuff Happens and war ensues, thanks to W., Rummy and Condi by Peter Birnie, Vancouver Sun:

The Firehall Arts Centre is about to present Hare’s controversial 2004 play Stuff Happens, about the lies told on the road to war with Iraq. I ask him if the political play, which is a rare bird on the principal stages of Canadian theatre, fares better in London’s West End.

“No,” he declares firmly. “You have no idea. At the moment in London there is a revival of a play called The Chalk Garden, by Enid Bagnold, which is a play about aristocrats handing crumpets to each other. It is exactly the play that John Osborne [Look Back in Anger] vowed to drive out of the British theatre forever. It’s actually the play that created the feeling that we must change our theatre and we must make it contemporary.

“Well, needless to say, this revival of The Chalk Garden has been praised to the skies by the British critics, who are kind of heaving a sigh of relief and saying, ‘Thank God, we’ve got nice people saying nice things on the stage again!'”

What’s not nice for Hare is the reluctance of people on this side of the pond to produce Stuff Happens.


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