on 1 November 2009
My experience of David Hare plays is that they are often hit and miss: for every "Plenty" or "Amy's View" you get a "My Zinc Bed" or "Breath of Life"--and the writing in the plays is not significantly better or worse, just some of the plays "work" better than others. Mr. Hare's most recent play before this one, "Gethsemane," I found VERY disappointing, but this new one, "The Power of Yes," seems a return to form. If you liked "The Permanent Way" and "Stuff Happens" then don't hesitate to pick this one up. Again Hare constructs his narrative from public records and interviews he recently conducted--this time adding himself as a character on stage to tie the material together. The result is informative, entertaining and compelling. He even manages to add a little personal conflict when a Financial Journalist implicitly compares him to Fred Goodwin of RBS and other bankers who refuse to take criticism: "When you write a play and the critics say it's crap. Do you accept it?"
Ultimately the image of Hare interviewing the billionare who met with Alan Greenspan both before and after the financial crisis will stay with you:
Soros: When we met...it was before the crisis, and...he said, 'Markets are imperfect but they bring such benefits that you have to live with the fact that from time to time they collapse, so you just pick up the bits.' But then I saw him again recently--after the crisis...He said 'What I said in June no longer applies.' Yes, but even at the first lunch,...when he said, 'The benefits of the market are so great that you have to live with the price,' even then I had an answer...I said, 'Yes, but Alan, the people who end up paying the price are never the people who get the benefits.'