To mark the day of publication of the Chilcot inquiry report, David Hare directs a rehearsed reading of his landmark 2004 play about the diplomatic process leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Stuff Happens returns to the National Theatre for one night only, on 6 July 2016, the day the Chilcot Inquiry report is published. Original star Alex Jennings reprises his role as George W Bush. All tickets are priced £10.
Stuff happens… and it’s untidy, and freedom’s untidy and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.
The American Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld’s famous response to the looting of Baghdad, at a press conference in April 2003, provided the title for a David Hare play premiered at the National Theatre in 2004 exploring the extraordinary process leading up to the invasion of Iraq.
Playwright David Hare said:
“In 2004 Nicholas Hytner said the National Theatre could not call itself by that name if it did not have a play about the invasion of Iraq in that calendar year. He was right. And now twelve years later, when the inquiry into those events is to be published, it seems appropriate to mark the event by presenting the play which first laid out the diplomatic process leading to the most controversial foreign policy decision of my lifetime.”
Originally directed by Nicholas Hytner in 2004, the cast included Alex Jennings who returns to the NT playing the pivotal role of George W Bush. Describing Jennings’ performance in 2004, The Daily Telegraph said Alex captured Bush’s “folksy charm as well as that alarming combination of dimness and dangerous certainty.”
Rufus Norris, Director National Theatre said:
“In 2004 Stuff Happens shone a light on a new approach to political theatre. It was funny, moving, fascinating and crucially, politically impactful. The significance of the work remains today. The choice to stage a rehearsed reading on the day the Chilcot Inquiry publishes was deliberate; to remind audiences how important this piece remains twelve years later.”