David Hare

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Plays by David Hare

The Absence of War

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

The Absence of War offers a meditation on the classic problems of leadership, and is the third part of a critically acclaimed trilogy of plays (Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges) about British institutions.

Its unsparing portrait of a Labour Party torn between past principles and future prosperity, and of a deeply sympathetic leader doomed to failure, made the play hugely controversial and prophetic when it was first presented at the National Theatre, London, in 1993.

Amy's View

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

It is 1979. Esme Allen is a well-known West End actress at just the moment when the West End is ceasing to offer actors a regular way of life. The visit of her young daughter, Amy, with a new boyfriend sets in train a series of events which only find their shape eighteen years later. A generational play about the long term struggle between a strong mother and her loving daughter, Amy's View mixes love, death and the theatre in a way which is both heady and original.

Amy's View was first performed at the National Theatre, London, in June 1997, and transferred to the Aldwych Theatre in January 1998.

Gethsemane

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Nothing is more important to a modern political party than fund-raising. But the values of the donors can't always coincide with the professed beliefs of the party. And family scandal within the cabinet has the potential to throw both the money-raisers and the money-spenders into chaos.

This richly imagined ensemble play about British public life looks at the way business, media and politics are now intertwined to nobody's advantage, as, in an unforgiving world, one character after another passes through Gethsemane.

Gethsemane, David Hare's fourteenth original play for the National Theatre, London, premiered in November 2008.

The Judas Kiss

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Oscar Wilde's philosophy leads him on a path to destruction. The Judas Kiss describes two pivotal moments: the day Wilde decides to stay in England and face imprisonment, and the night when the lover for whom he risked everything betrays him.

With a burning sense of outrage, David Hare presents the consequences of an uncompromisingly moral position in a world defined by fear and conformity.

The Judas Kiss was first presented by the Almeida Theatre Company at the Playhouse Theatre, London, in March 1998.

Knuckle

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Knuckle combines surrealism and satire in a breathlessly fast-moving plot when Curly Delafield, mercenary soldier and gun-runner, returns to Guilford to find out what has happened to his sister Sarah.

Knuckle premiered at the Comedy Theatre, London, in March 1974.

My Zinc Bed

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

David Hare's play My Zinc Bed continues the run of work in which he has sought to describe the atmosphere of contemporary Britain. A successful entrepreneur, Victor Quinn, employs a young poet, Paul Peplow, to decorate the legend of his fast-growing Internet business. Nothing prepares either man for an outcome which makes for a compelling story of romance and addiction.

My Zinc Bed was first presented at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in September 2000.

The Permanent Way

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

In 1991, before an election they did not expect to win, the Conservative government made a fateful decision to privatise the railways. Now, twelve years later, as a result of that privatisation, the taxpayer subsidises rail more lavishly than ever before. In The Permanent Way, David Hare, working with actors from the Out of Joint Company, tells the intricate, madcap story of a dream gone sour, by gathering together the first-hand accounts of those most intimately involved – from every level of the system. Funny, tragic and compelling, the play offers an extraordinary parable of British mis-management that raises questions about the recent history of the country.

Out of Joint's production of The Permanent Way premiered at the Theatre Royal, York on 13 November 2003 and toured before opening at the National Theatre, London, in January 2004.

The Power of Yes

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

On 15 September 2008, capitalism came to a grinding halt. As sub-prime mortgages and toxic securities continued to dominate the headlines well into 2009, the National Theatre asked David Hare to write an urgent and immediate work that sought to find out what had happened, and why.

Capitalism works when greed and fear are in the correct balance. This time they got out of balance. Too much greed, not enough fear.

Meeting with many of the key players from the financial world, David Hare, author of The Permanent Way and Stuff Happens, has created The Power of Yes: a compelling narrative, as enlightening as it is entertaining.

It's like a ship which you're being told is in apple-pie order, the decks are cleaned, the metal is burnished, the only thing nobody mentions, it's being driven at full speed towards an iceberg.

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.

The Power of Yes opened at the National Theatre, London, in September 2009.

Pravda

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Pravda (which means ‘truth’) is a comedy of excess which put modern Fleet Street on the stage for the first time. It is an acerbic satire on the ruthless newspaper culture of the 1980s, in particular an insatiable media mogul eating into the liberal, loss-making establishment.

Lambert Le Roux begins his string of aggressive acquisitions by buying the local paper The Leicester Bystander, firing the editor and putting Andrew in charge, a man who loves newspapers so much he won’t print corrections because they spoil the page. Andrew’s fortunes rise with La Roux’s as the tycoon buys a broadsheet, fires almost everyone and promoting Andrew to the top. La Roux is a man who believes in regularly sacking his entire work force and that there is no point making good papers because the bad ones sell so much better, and the play matches his unprincipled machinations against Andrew’s wavering principles.

Pravda is an attack on the commercial degradation of the British newspaper that is both lively and funny, and fascinatingly prophetic. Pravda premiered in 1985 at the National Theatre, London.

David Hare is a playwright and filmmaker. His stage plays include Plenty, Pravda (with Howard Brenton) Racing Demon, Skylight, Amy's View, Via Dolorosa, Stuff Happens, South Downs, The Absence of War and The Judas Kiss. His films for cinema and television include Wetherby, The Hours, Damage, The Reader and the Worricker trilogy: Page Eight, Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield. He has written English adaptations of plays by Pirandello, Chekhov, Brecht, Schnitzler, Lorca, Gorky and Ibsen. For fifteen years he was an Associate Director of the National Theatre.