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But Hare’s plays have never been solely about that, despite starting a ramshackle troupe called Portable Theatre with friends straight out of college and taking their cheap, rough, politically impassioned shows to the English streets.“David Hare has never lifted a pen for dishonorable purposes, as far as I’m aware,” e-mails Nighy, who has worked with Hare for more than 30 years and recently starred with Carey Mulligan in his “Skylight” in London and on Broadway.(In June, the play earned a Tony Award as best revival.) “He has continued to present the world to us as it unfolds in a conscientious, elegant, original, compassionate and hilarious way.” Last year, Hare adapted Katherine Boo’s “Behind the Beautiful Forevers,” the 2012 nonfiction National Book Award winner about the Mumbai slum Annawadi.Boo, a former Washington Post editor and reporter, says by e-mail, “He passes the global version of the Bechdel Test — which is to say, the reality test of 21st-century women’s lives — with flying colors.” Hare spent a week in Mumbai with director Rufus Norris, and Boo was struck “that he was willing, in the middle of directing some other consuming and starry project, to go to the slums and spend time listening to the people he was going to be representing.” The writing never stops, not since the aggravating block as Hare grappled with the meaning of Thatcher’s election.Sir David Hare is almost certainly the premiere political dramatist writing in English, yet last weekend he slinked through Washington almost unnoticed. “Stuff Happens” was hisquasi-documentary account of the U. and British decision to invade Iraq after 9/11, with Tony Blair, George W.Not that it bothered him: By now, the 68-year-old playwright is accustomed to not having his plays staged in America’s capital, even when political behavior and American policy are its topics. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell as characters. Washington’s big theaters have almost never been interested, except in Hare’s adaptations of material such as Brecht’s “Mother Courage” recently at Arena, though Hare says that years ago there were talks with the Kennedy Center about “Stuff Happens.” “The people running the Kennedy Center said, ‘We try to keep out of politics,’ ” Hare recalls.“I’ve spent my whole life cooking spinach,” Hare says. They were totally uninterested.” Hare dislikes opinion writers but adores war correspondents, and during several cycles he wrote for London papers about British political campaigns.“Oh, I love your [politicians],” he says, his voice rumbling with sinister glee.
His movie adaptations include screenplays for “The Hours” and “The Reader.” Now Hare is in the States on a brief book tour, promoting “The Blue Touch Paper,” his memoir of becoming a playwright in the tumultuous, still-unformed London scene of the 1960s and ’70s.
(It was revived in London earlier this year.) “Via Dolorosa,” at Theater J in 2000, was Hare’s one-man account of being on the ground among Israelis and Palestinians.
Since then, the prolific Hare has written an insider’s campaign drama, “Absence of War,” after being embedded in Neil Kinnock’s failed try for British prime minister in 1992.
The play is “an opportunity for David to ask difficult questions about art and Englishness and entitlement,” director Jeremy Herrin says by e-mail.
“David is whip smart, and he assumes his audience is, too.” Nighy singles out Hare’s wit, and after decades of collaboration, Nighy both embodies and inspires it. And I’ve persuaded audiences that these subjects are just as entertaining as My Mother Didn’t Love Me, or My Father Was an Alcoholic.” The memoir features a letter from novelist Philip Roth: “You are not a nice boy David,” Roth wrote after seeing the 1985 Hare-Howard Brenton play “Pravda,” with a character based on Rupert Murdoch (featuring Anthony Hopkins as Lambert Le Roux).
Watching him struggle with the English language has made George W. “Did you see what an incredible day it was yesterday? “This city, looking absolutely stunning — you can go into the Smithsonian for an hour, or the National Gallery, or the Holocaust Museum — these incredible museums.