Written by David Hare
Directed by Joel Greenberg
Playing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto until December 23

Commentary by Robin Breon


When David Hare’s searing docu-drama, Stuff Happens, premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2004 it was quickly hailed for its depth and insight into what was then the still unfolding saga of deception and military adventurism that resulted in the failed Bush policy in Iraq. When Studio 180 mounted the show in Toronto last year in the 284 seat Berkeley Theatre it quickly became the hit of the season with sold out performances for the length of the run. This brought the production to the attention of Mirvish Productions who programmed it as part of their 2009-2010 subscription series.

The question is – with this much distance between the actual events in question and the play’s transferal to a much larger venue (playing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre until December 23) – do the devious machinations and deceptions of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Blair and a large assortment of cohorts and supporting players – still have resonance for a theatre going audience. Sadly, the answer is still yes. Perhaps more so today than when the play was originally written as the Obama administration so cavalierly ignores a legacy of torture, destruction and “collateral damage” (the term given to civilian and non-combatant deaths and injuries) as they ramp up the misadventure and double down in Afghanistan.

I have not yet had an opportunity to see the show but the daily print media reviews are in and by the looks of it Studio 180 artistic director Joel Greenberg has repeated his success. Cast changes including Michael Healey in the role of George W. Bush and Karen Robinson as Condoleezza Rice have given new actors an opportunity to bring fresh insights to their roles.

I believe I can safely stand upon my previous Aisle Say review which can be found at:

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