We are temporarily only able to ship Faber Shop orders to addresses in the UK.
What is a political playwright? Does theatre have any direct effect on society? Why choose to work in a medium which speaks to so few? Is theatre itself facing oblivion? All frequent questions addressed to David Hare over the last thirty-five years, as his work has taken him from the travelling fringe to the National Theatre, from seasons on Broadway to performances in prisons, church halls and on bare floors.
Since 1978, Hare has sought uniquely to address these and other questions in occasional lectures given both in Britain and abroad. Now, for the first time, these lectures are collected together with some of his more recent prose pieces about God, Iraq, Israel/Palestine and the privatisation of the railways.
Bringing to the lectern the same wit, insight and gift for the essential for which his plays are known, Hare presents the distilled result of a lifetime’s sustained thinking about art and politics.
‘The foremost theatrical chronicler of contemporary British life.’ New York Times
‘Our best writer of contemporary drama.’ Sunday Times
...there is something heroically classical about a collection of speeches, something reminiscent of Pericles's "Funeral Oration" ... throughout , Hare's voice conveys a profound fellow-feeling for his audience and his subject. [Hare] places his real emphasis on the other kind of collectivism, a belief that progress can only be achieved through working friendships. No doubt, it is easier to uphold this ideal in the theatre, where nothing can be achieved without collaboration. But it remains a noble objective - and Hare makes the case eloquently in this rewarding collection.
David Hare plainly loves to irritate. And there is something oddly attractive about seeing this distinguished theatrical knight rubbing people up the wrong way. Instead of the complacency and contentment you might expect after a successful 35-year career, you get that rare phenomenon: a public intellectual who actually cares about art ... Hare devotes two chapters to Osborne. Full of genuine admiration, impassioned wit and a real feeling for Osborne's life and art, these pieces are among the most wonderful things that one playwright could say about another ... his book covers a life-enhancing variety of subjects, from autobiographical anecdotes to bruising polemic ... in a cynical age, the really exciting thing about this compelling book is its open enthusiasm, its intelligent questioning and its fundamental bravery. It is well written, full of passionate energy and completely unafraid of grappling with ideas and mocking the cant of the day. Long may Hare care enough to write like this; long may he irritate.
...this is an engaging and enjoyable set of thoughts, delivered mainly in the form of lectures and mainly on the theme of theatre and the performing arts. Their cmulative effect is to form a defence and an explanation of the form to which Hare has devoted his life - political, committed theatre.
Here is that marvellously refreshing thing, a man with a clear idea of what he does not like ... many of the most enjoyable passages in this stimulating book are examples of the old English art of invective at its finest.
Hare is a polemical master stylist. He packs moral rigour into smart bombs of prose and launches them on angular trajectories around political, literary and historical themes before bringing them in to land on their targets, which are promptly annihilated, not in a mushroom cloud of rhetorical thunder in in a puff of bathos. He defends himself with an arsenal of quotation both eclectic and erudite ... Hare may be of the left, but he builds his barricades centre stage. These essays make you angry, in a good way.
This is a powerful and provoking collection of lectures from one of Britain's best known playwrights.
Browse a selection of books we think you might also like, with genre matches and a few wildcards thrown in.