“Dream and reality become indistinguishable.” This, David Hare’s engrossing new monologue informs us, was part of the bludgeoning battery of effects wrought on his body and mind, as both the playwright and a locked-down Britain battled Covid-19. It’s a symptom even those of us spared direct experience of the virus will recognise: 2020 has been a surreal nightmare of terrifying invisible threat, corrupt, incompetent government, isolation, confusion, and racist violence... Read more
Covid-19 seems to be a sort of dirty bomb, thrown into the body to cause havoc.
On the same day that the UK government finally made the first of two decisive interventions that led to a conspicuously late lockdown, David Hare contracted Covid-19. Nobody seemed to know much about it then, and many doctors are not altogether sure they know much more today. Suffering a pageant of apparently random symptoms, Hare recalls the delirium of his illness, which mixed with fear, dream, honest medicine and dishonest politics to create a monologue of furious urgency and power.
Ralph Fiennes stars in Beat the Devil at the Bridge Theatre, as part of a repertoire of twelve one-person plays during September and October.
Photo credit: Manuel Harlan