Wall

One of Britain’s most recognised playwrights; David Hare’s recent credits include Gethsemane at the National, as well as the screenplays for Stephen Daldry’s films, “The Hours” and “The Reader. Twinned with his presentation on Berlin, which ran at the National earlier this year, Wall is Hare’s insight into life in Israel and Palestine and his take on what and how it has all gone wrong. Alone on stage for just over 40 minutes, Hare glances occasionally at his script and charms the audience with cheery anecdotes, fascinating stories, including one of a prolonged attempt to find his way into the guarded town of Nablus, and strong minded views on the countries’ ridiculous situation. The material is fascinating; he talks of his astonishment at a group of Palestinians’ hero worship of Saddam Hussein, the effect a singular reference to the bible can have to a small town over 2000 years later and perhaps most interestingly the very views and feelings of the Israelis and Palestinians themselves. Both are generally in agreement that the building of a wall is an admission that they have failed and are now telling the world that they “no longer wish to be normal”.Stephen Daldry’s direction gives the piece further energy; Hare bounds on to the stage at the start pronouncing “All right. Let’s be serious, let’s think about this”, and while he doesn’t pace and occupies the centre of the stage for much of his performance, there is a real focus that derives from this. My major qualm is that he fails to offer any real solution to the conflict and doesn’t really venture into even discussing the future apart from a moot point that the Israelis don’t think about planning for the future too far in advance as they themselves can’t profess to guarantee, in their heart of hearts, that they will still be there. While this is undoubtedly a performance, there is a seminar type style to Hare’s piece and as such I couldn’t help but leave thinking of several questions I’d like to ask him about it – unfortunately this just isn’t an option, although I’m sure it would only serve to enhance the audience’s experience and Hare seems perfectly qualified to take up such a challenge.

Reviews by John C Kennedy

The Blurb

Since he first visited Israel and the Palestinian territories to write Via Dolorosa which the Royal Court presented over 200 times in the West End and on Broadway, David Hare has regularly been back in the region. Now he offers a searching 40-minute study of the Israel/Palestine separation barrier which will one day stretch 486 miles and be over four times as long as the Berlin Wall and in places, twice as high.