Friday, June 22, 2012

Pravda: A Fleet Street Comedy by Howard Brenton and David Hare

Bonnie and I attended a slew of plays when we spent two weeks in and around London in late spring 1985. I was reminded of this when I found Pravda: A Fleet Street Comedy by Howard Brenton and David Hare at my library. At the National Theatre we saw Anthony Hopkins in the role of Lambert Le Roux, a very Rupert Murdoch-like newspaper tycoon. We knew of Hopkins from several programs that we had seen on Masterpiece Theater. He was big then but not as big as he would become soon after. We were very lucky to get tickets, as the play had just debuted. We were at the right place at the right time to get returned tickets and had great seats.

After 27 years, my memory of the actual play is fuzzy, so I borrowed and read the book. I was surprised to learn that we also saw a young Bill Nighy as La Roux's evil aide Eaton Sylvester. I verified this with the playbill, which we still have. In Pravda, La Roux and Sylvester dissect the very lax-standards British newspaper publishing industry for their own profit. The comedy is very dark in this play that foresaw much that seems to have become true in Britain and the U.S.

If you have not tried reading plays since high school, let me recommend them to you. They are usually dramatic (of course) and take just an hour or two to read (depending on your reading speed).

Brenton, Howard and David Hare. Pravda: A Fleet Street Comedy. Metheun Inc., 1985. 148p. No ISBN.

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