The NAC English Theatres 2014/15 Ensemble assemble once last time in the political drama, Stuff Happens, based on the backroom conversations and dogmatic aspirations of those within the Bush administration post-9/11.
Should You See It?
I have truly enjoyed this season’s 2014/15 Ensemble at the NAC English Theatre and was quite looking forward to David Ferry’s interpretation of David Hare’s Stuff Happens. The show is an immense one, as it showcases a large ensemble of actors who are playing close to 40 different characters at any given time. Stuff Happens follows the likes of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Colin Powell and other heavy-hitters as the acting officials of the day did everything they could to manipulate the events of 9/11 and enter into Iraq on false pretenses and start a war, presented in the most Shakespearian of ways.
The biggest problem in this play is that 14 years after 9/11, we are already privy to every shocking moment this play is supposed to hold. We’ve become so desensitized to the corrupt actions of political leaders worldwide that this play doesn’t really carry the punch it would have carried when it was first premiered in 2004.
In the program the show is listed as running 2 and a half hours including an intermission. In reality, the show ran over 3 hours, with an off-kilter pacing that, I’m not kidding, put three people, within a very close vicinity to me, asleep, snores included, in the 2nd Act. The strong acting portrayed by Stuart Hughes (George W. Bush), Alex McCooeye (Colin Powell) and Greg Malone (Donald Rumsfeld) just wasn’t enough to distract from the very long and dry content that is Stuff Happens.
The best part of this show was its integration of technology into the stage. The setting itself was extremely simple, yet its sheer backdrop that allowed media to be displayed throughout the show was by far the most engaging piece in this artistic puzzle. It made up for the over the top wordy narrations that held no true significance to the story.
As the show wraps up its obvious that this show has evolved since its initial debut in 2004, as the content within the show expands on events after that date. In an attempt to seem relevant the show goes from being informative to preachy as it compares the war in Iraq to international governmental handlings of ISIS.
Overall, Stuff Happens is a show whose relevance is waning and whose run time bogs down any significant impact that it is attempting to make.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think. Did you find Stuff Happens more engaging than I did? How did you feel about the shows intention to compare the present ISIS situation to that of 9/11? Let us know in the comments section below!