Award-winning actor and director David Ferry describes Stuff Happens by legendary British playwright Sir David Hare as a cautionary tale of Shakespearean proportions.
"It's like Richard III, or Henry V,” he said. “It deals with huge issues of power, of access to power, and how power can be misused or can be skewed to appear to be in the public's best interest."
Blending documented details, public-record information and theatrical invention, the play re-examines the events that led to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Characters include former U.S. President George W. Bush, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, among others.
As part of their research, the NAC’s resident English Theatre Ensemble spent time with two key Canadian decision-makers from that time. John Manley, who was then Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister,and Eddie Goldenberg, then Senior Political Advisor to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, visited the rehearsal hall andshared their experiences, including insights from meetings behind closed doors.
When the lights come up in the theatre, the audience must decide what role they have in their own government, Ferry said.
"We very much, in our production, draw attention to the question that is asked of the audience in this script. Who's responsible?"
Photo: Karen Robinson, Andrew Moodie, Stuart Hughes by Andree Lanthier