Stuff Happens

Just returned from seeing the Company B production of David Hare’s play Stuff Happens, at Sydney’s Seymour Centre (showing until 21 Aug, then coming to Melb on 24 Aug). The play is about Iraq, and takes a reasonable shot at being fair to both the pro-war and anti-war camps. As anyone who’s seen Hare’s splendid Via Dolorosa knows, he’s definitely the thinking progressive’s playwright of choice (I guess that makes Hannie Rayson the unthinking progressive’s playwright of choice).

About equal attention is paid to the pre-war ponderings of the Brits and the Americans, but as you might expect from a British writer, he does better at the nuances in his own country, and occasionally misses a trick when it comes to understanding the US. I very much doubt that Colin Powell ever used the word fuck in Bush’s cabinet meetings. Likewise, Donald Rumsfeld would be rather unlikely to credit Thomas Jefferson as one of the drafters of the US Constitution (it does say something that no-one in the Australian production team noticed this clanger either). They also need a voice coach who can train some of the actors to deliver more believable American accents.

I were running the Imagining Australia theatre review show, I’d give Stuff Happens 3.5 stars out of 5. The show moves three hours of of material at a constant clip, Leah Purcell is surprisingly credible as Condi Rice, and the extensive use of real speech grabs means that even a liberal hawk can find something to enjoy in it.

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2 Responses to Stuff Happens

  1. Alistair says:

    Yes, I went to see the show on Friday with my school and apart from the 300 odd bored school kids who went to every extreme to be idiots (talking etc) i quite enjoyed it. Being on the opposite side of politics made it an interesting play.

    American accents weren’t the best I agree and the playwright made a mistake I thunk in parodying Bush and not anyone else (Condi, Powell). If parody was the main aim I would have liked to see everyone parodied. Also I thought the parody of GWB was well acted I think it detracted from the whole performance as a whole, although I realise that its meant to show his intelligence I think it just got repetitive.

    I also got the feeling that the meetings of the administration were somewhat disjointed and un-natural. Not sure why I got this feeling but its not what I imagined them to be like.

    Tony Bl

  2. Andrew Leigh says:

    Alistair, you’ve hit the nail on the head with the parody thing. I agree, it was very odd.

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