Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Britain, assailed by coronavirus, was no country for an angry old Playwright called David Hare

Last summer, before the coronavirus raised its head, David was interviewed by the 'Financial Times'.
When asked : "How politically committed are you?" He replied :
"I’m provoked by the amount of unnecessary suffering there is. Politics, like medicine, should be there to relieve suffering. Clearly at the moment it is not doing its job." 

And asked : "What do you find most irritating in other people?" He replied :
"The abuse of power, in any situation in which any person has power over another." 

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This week the Guardian's report of David experience of being sick with coronavirus makes the point that : 'His fury at the Government’s handling of the crisis is to be the subject of a play starring Ralph Fiennes as the playwright.'

The Bridge Theatre in London announced it would reopen in September with socially distanced audiences, assuming the Government gives the sector the go-ahead and will begin with 'Beat the Devil', a monologue written by David in response to his experience of contracting coronavirus early in the pandemic. The Theatre said that in it, David recalls : 'The delirium of his illness, which mix with fear, dream, honest medicine and dishonest politics to create a monologue of furious urgency and power.'

Speaking to the BBC in April, David, who is 73 years old, described his experience of the virus at about the same time the British Government introduced lockdown measures. It evolved rapidly and unexpectedly : “One day it would be fever, next day it would be arctic cold, then it would be vomiting, then coughing, then conjunctivitis, then breathing problems. Day 10 was five times worse than day five.”

David who is one of Britain’s most celebrated stage writers is no stranger to producing work which is witheringly critical of the performance of governments in the past on subjects including the privatisation of the railways and the Iraq war.

He has now been damning of the Johnson's Government's coronavirus response, calling it worse than the handling of the Suez crisis or Iraq and said : “To watch a weasel-worded parade of ministers shirking responsibility for their failures and confecting non-apologies to the dead and dying has seen British public life sink as low as I can remember in my entire lifetime.” 

He thought that : "In return for lockdown, isolation, commercial disaster and social distancing” the British public deserved honesty. He also thought that Johnson and his Ministers : “ Must own up to their mistakes, stop dodging and waffling and start to trust us with the truth.”

He ridiculed those who said that “courage” and “love of life” got the Prime Minister through his dose of coronavirus and instead said : “Those of us who’ve had the virus know you don’t under any circumstances ignore it. What helped me survive were pure luck and the assiduous expert care of my first-class GP. Those two things only, not my fabled resources of character.”

1 comment:

  1. I agree with everything David Hare says. I'm a long-time fan although I don't care for all the plays! Just as I was starting drama school, Teeth 'n'Smiles was staged and Plenty as Ieft. Thank you for posting.