PLAYWRIGHT David Hare met the cast and crew of the three productions taking place at Sheffield Theatres in a major retrospective of his work.
Racing Demon is being directed in the Crucible Main House by Sheffield Theatres Artistic Director Daniel Evans, while Plenty, directed by Thea Sharrock, is being staged in the Studio Theatre and Peter Gill’s production of The Breath of Life opened this week in the Lyceum Theatre.
As part of the season at Sheffield Theatres, the playwright himself will perform live on the Crucible stage on Friday.
He will be reading Via Dolorosa, his monologue about the Middle East, in which Hare poses the question: “Must our lives in the West necessarily be shallower than those of people for whom the stakes are so much higher?”
In 1997 Hare travelled to Israel and Palestine, landing in Tel Aviv and going on to visit Ramallah, Jaffa, the Sheri Tikva Israeli settlement, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. It was hoped that Hare would become one of three playwrights – one British, one Israeli and one Palestinian – to write plays about the period of the British Mandate in the 1930s and 1940s, as part of a Royal Court project but upon his return he wrote a monologue about his experiences instead.
He performed the resulting piece, Via Dolorosa, the following year at the Royal Court, exploring not only the landscapes, ideologies and emotions of the region, but his own values and beliefs and those of Western civilization.
Via Dolorosa is part of a series of play readings, workshops and talks that complement the simultaneous staging of three of his plays Racing Demon, Plenty and The Breath of Life in the Crucible Main House, the Studio and the Lyceum.
The Olivier Award-winning playwright and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter said: “For the whole of my theatre-going life, Sheffield has been one of the most vibrant and exciting theatre cities in the country. When I ran touring companies, it was high among the gigs you most relished. I can’t think of a greater honour for a living playwright than to have three plays simultaneously performed in its three different theatres.”