I am still reeling from the two hours and 40 minutes of British playwright David Hare’s journalistic play Stuff Happens.
It was Lokes’ early birthday present before I went to Chicago. I’d seen the raving report in the Times a few weeks ago, and thought to bring my man there for some cultural insight.
While I expected to be entertained and even to be educated (I don’t know much about American politics, much less about the events that led to the war), I did not expect to be moved to tears. And moved to tears I was that at the end of the play, I’d stood up and clapped with such ferocity that my hands smarted all the way through our 30-minute drive home.
Stuff Happens, a name lifted off a remark made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld when he was asked to comment on the looting in Iraq following the fall of Baghdad, is a fictionalised account of the lead-up to the Iraq war based on factual events and reports. This was what attracted me to buy the tickets because I do like political comedies.
A word of caution though – this is a play, and Hare has said that “nothing in the play is “knowingly untrue,” but “less than a quarter of the play quotes the public statements of politicians verbatim”, so I won’t go signing any petitions right after.
What you may go away with is a sense of shock and awe, an effect much more cleverly delivered than even the real thing.