12 March 2009

Wall by David Hare

Performed by David Hare under the direction of Stephen Daldry and wants regarded as a companion piece to Berlin.
Seen on the first night of it's very short run at the Royal Court downstairs.

Presented in the form of an eloquent debate couched around pertinent anecdotes, I found Wall even more powerful that Berlin.

There will reviews by more articulate and better educated people so I will just cover this by saying that this was more fascinating, mesmerising and engaging than any sermon I have seen in a church. By using a single performer in the blank, brightly lit three-waller that is downstairs for this season the image of this hypnotic man is momentarily burned on the retina after the performance ends until it finds it place seared into memory.

"There it is. Not just a wall. A wall would be a fact. But this wall is a philosophy, what one observer has called a political code for shutting up shop."

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.

David Hare's Berlin, currently being performed at the National Theatre, looks at a place where, twenty years ago, a wall came down. Wall is about a place where, right now, a wall is going up.

"Of all British dramatists, Hare is the one who has always seemed to have the sharpest awareness of what is going on around him, which is what makes him such an eagerly sought-after journalist." Michael Billington