David Hare on Insecurity and Writer's Block
The Guardian profiles the prolific, political playwright, worried and still productive
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Its subject has just written and directed a new feature-length drama for British television, rich with ripped-from-the-headlines detail about foreign policy, international relations, and torture.
He also just saw the world premiere of a new, partly autobiographical play, "South Downs."
And yet, the lead of this profile from The Guardian is all about how Sir David Hare is suffering from something like writer's block.
The artist in full bloom of a very productive sort of insecurity:
"I'm 63, but this is exactly how I feel about myself now. I don't understand the rules." Surely, you don't feel insecure socialising? "I do, actually. I spend so much time alone at parties thinking, 'Is everybody else failing to understand the way of the world, or is it just me?' Nicole [Farhi, his clothes designer wife] says we've wasted more time outside parties than we've spent inside them." But didn't insecure adolescent David think you'd grow up into mature mastery of the world? "I bet he did. I remember having a powerful fantasy that as an adult I'd be picking up hitch-hikers and telling the young people I picked up about the ways of the world. But I've never felt secure in the world, or that I've anything useful to impart."
Also included in this rumination on Hare and his past and current work: the playwright's long interaction with and admiration for the late Harold Pinter, and a more general musing on the pressures of interacting with the political in an artistic frame.
Last year Hare described what he does as a playwright in a lecture to the Royal Society of Literature: "'Are you the person who makes plays out of what's going on in the papers?' is never a question asked in a friendly manner. Nor is the answer much liked: 'Yes. Somebody has to.'
"I had to write that essay to explain what I'm doing because I'm so incredibly lonely as a dramatist – nobody does what I do, and some are dubious about it."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.