David Hare: The State of the Nation
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In a recent Sunday Times, a feature on David Hare and Christopher Hampton was accompanied by a photograph described wrongly as being of the two men. Actually, it was of Hare and Brenton. The mistake was almost inevitable, so interlinked has the work of the two men been. So much so, that it is surprising — especially given that they have not only worked on shows together, but have directly collaborated on four plays — just how different the work of the one is from the other. If it is the epic model, with its opening-out of the scale of political debate, which has come increasingly to interest Brenton, the same cannot be said of Hare. Where Brenton has seen his ‘acceptance’ by the National Theatre, for instance, as a challenge in terms of potential cast growth and territorial aggrandisement, Hare’s plays, with one notable exception, have remained consistently scaled-down in format, the action confined in rooms populated by small groups of people with tangled emotional relationships the likes of which are only to be found in Brenton’s least characteristic play, Sore Throats.
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