“Stuff Happens” is an effective and enlightening example of one of contemporary theater’s most challenging genres: fact-based documentary drama.
Recently, the only successful performances based on the Bush administration’s politics have been based in satire, like Will Ferrell on “Saturday Night Live” or an Off-Broadway comedy like “Bush Wars.” Serious dramatic examinations of American presidents usually take place years after their time of office, like the films “JFK” or “Nixon.”
English playwright David Hare has attempted to pinpoint and dissect the events leading to the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003. To do so, he uses a large ensemble of actors who play roles ranging from Dick Cheney to an Iraqi exile, in locations ranging from Camp David to New York’s Hotel Pierre,
A significant problem for the production is its overtly didactic nature. At my performance, a sea of high school students surrounded me, most of whom looked bored, four of which fell asleep. And since there were so many character changes among the actors, I found it necessary to view the show while also reading through the script.
But those issues aside, “Stuff Happens” is a relevant piece of theater that attempts to initiate a political conversation that many of us want to have.
Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-239-6200, $20-50. Tues-Fri 8pm, Sat 2 & 8pm, Sun 2 & 7pm. Through May 28.
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.