chapter  105
19 Pages

(Re:)Defining the Assault: Hare’s Juvenilia

WithScott Fraser

The ideological commonality of David Hare’s first three published plays—How Brophy Made Good, Slag, and The Great Exhibition—is their emphasis on the dialectical relationship between public and private moral decay. Hare’s text for Slag is clearly illustrative of a more implicit manipulation of accepted dramatic and literary tradition as a form of political commentary, evidenced by the opening scene in which three female teachers at a public girls’ school pledge to “abstain from all forms and varieties of sexual intercourse”. By the end of Slag, the institution is empty but the teachers remain the same: they wait in hope for the children of those in Burke’s Peerage to come and begin the same process all over again. Just as Heartbreak House focused on “cultured, leisured Europe before the war”, Hare’s Slag focuses on cultured, leisured England in the late 1960s.