Tuesday, 26 January 2010

'The Power of Yes' by David Hare

Simon Williams and Anthony Calf in 'The Power of Yes'

On 25th January 2010 I went to see the play 'The Power of Yes' by David Hare, with our friends Les Levidov and Anne Gray (at their suggestion) at the National Theatre, London. This is a political play about the current financial crisis.
The script by David Hare was astoundingly clever and it was also a very witty play. The play looks back over what has happened over the last few years, which has led to this current banking and financial crisis. The setting on the stage was plain and black, in order to convey the necessary overall impression of bleakness.

The play has been given a lot of praise. The 'Guardian' gave it a 4-star rating, for example, saying that it was:

"Engrossing...Asks questions to which we all want to know the answers."

However, I particularly liked this quote from the 'Independent on Sunday':

"If you want to understand the financial crisis you should go to the theatre."

Indeed - the theatre nowadays will probably inform one better than the government can and does! (LOL!)

I decided to buy a programme, and guess what - it contained an incredible quote from Karl Marx where he predicted what we have currently been going through in regard to the crisis. His foresight and brilliance never ceases to astound me. Here is the quote:

"Owners of capital will stimulate the working class to buy more and more expensive goods, houses and mechanical products, pushing them...until their debt becomes unbearable. The unpaid debt will lead to the bankruptcy of the banks, which will have to be nationalised, and the State will have to take the road which will lead eventually to communism."

However, there is a danger that the overall happening can be taken out of context - which is one of the limitations of the theatre, I think. Whilst all very clever, one can perhaps lose sight a little of the fact that it is all very much a part of the bigger picture, and that it is inevitable that such scenarios will happen in capitalism. Also, that real people are actually suffering!

Still, nevertheless, it is definitely a play worth seeing and is one that I would recommend.

P.S. When Glenn came home I talked to him about this supposed Karl Marx quote. He knows Marx's work very well, and he was immediately sceptical and was very doubtful about whether in fact it was a genuine quote! So, he did a google search, and guess what - it is a hoax! Heavens, this raises a lot of questions. Why would anyone want to make up such a hoax; why on earth are the National Theatre including it in their programme; is it really this easy to hawk false quotes around etc? I have to 'take my hat off' to Glenn though, for being on to this straightaway. Glenn found one particularly interesting article on a google search posted by Michael Rainey entitled 'Wall Street's Marxist moment'; Rainey suggests that perhaps it was made up and circulated by the right-wing in order to discredit any effort to nationalize banks in the U.S. That seems like quite a plausible idea to me. And finally, I have to confess to being a bit daft myself, don't I, for falling for the bait. I mean, the concept of nationalisation wasn't around at the time, was it? But then again, I'm one amongst many. Anyway, all makes you think, does it not? And also, once again, why on earth was it in a National Theatre official programme?

1 comment:

  1. Have you thought of taking this up with the National Theatre or David Hare?

    I know of at least one other blogger who quoted from the programme. Like Glenn, he has researched the quote further and is now amending his original post.