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.

I’m Not Running

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Should I run? This is the question Pauline Gibson is asking herself. She has spent her adult life as a doctor, the inspiring leader of a campaign for local health provision. When she crosses paths with her old boyfriend, Jack Gould, who has made his way in Labour party politics, she’s faced with an agonising decision.

What’s involved in sacrificing your private life and your peace of mind for something more than a single issue? Does she dare?

I’m Not Running premiered at the National Theatre, London, in October 2018.

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.

The Moderate Soprano

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Nobody can doubt John Christie's passion or his formidable will: his wooing of his opera singer wife has been marked by a determination befitting a man who won the Military Cross at the Battle of Loos. Now, in 1934, this Etonian science teacher's admiration for the works of Wagner has led him to embark on an ambitious project: the construction of an Opera House on his estate in Sussex.

But such is the scale of the enterprise that passion may not be enough. It's only when fog descends on Eastbourne, stranding a famous violinist overnight, that Christie hears word of a group of refugees for whom life in Germany is becoming impossible. Perhaps they can deliver Christie's vision of the sublime - assuming they're willing to cast his wife in the lead.

The Moderate Soprano premiered at Hampstead Theatre, London, in October 2015.

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 mismanagement 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.

Plenty

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Plenty ran at the National Theatre, London, throughout 1978 and the New York production in the autumn of 1982 was equally well received. In counterpointing the experiences of an Englishwoman helping the French Resistance during the war with her life in the following twenty years, the author offers a unique view of postwar history, as well as making a powerful statement about changing values and the collapse of ideals embodied in a single life.

Picture of David Hare

David Hare's first full-length play was produced in 1970. Since then he has written over thirty stage plays and twenty-five screenplays for film and television. The plays include Plenty, Pravda (with Howard Brenton), The Secret Rapture, Racing Demon, Skylight, Amy's View, The Blue Room, Via Dolorosa, Stuff Happens, The Absence of War, The Judas Kiss, The Red Barn and The Moderate Soprano. For cinema, he has written The Hours, The Reader, Damage, Denial, Wetherby and The White Crow among others, while his television films include Licking Hitler, the Worricker Trilogy (Page Eight, Turks & Caicos, and Salting the Battlefield) and Collateral. In a millennial poll of the greatest plays of the twentieth century, five of the top hundred were his.