Asking Around Background to the David Hare Trilogy

David Hare

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

256 Pages


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Asking Around is a record of the firsthand documentary research that provided the inspiration and source material for David Hare's trilogy of plays, Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, and The Absence of War. This trilogy examines the crises that faced three great British institutions—the Church, the Law, and the Labour Party—in the lead-up to the 1992 election that saw the Labour Party once again fail to defeat the Conservatives.

Conducted over five years, Hare's interviews are composed of informal conversations with a wide range of people—from unhappy vicars and police officers forced to put down strikes staged by their childhood friends, to judges and MPs—most of whom reveal a surprising awareness of and cynicism about the principles of their organizations. Priests admit to being essentially social workers with no time for questions of faith, wardens tell of inmates who boast of surviving certain prisons, and politicians and journalists reveal what really goes on in policy meetings. These interviews constitute astute social criticism in the words of the people and, taken together, provide an insightful portrait of Britain in the early 1990s.


Praise for Asking Around

"Asking Around shows how much leg-work [Hare] puts into researching his plays. Where most writers stay behind their desks, Hare has been out there looking. When future historians come to study the state of Britain in the late twentieth century, Hare will be the playwright they turn to first."—Blake Morrison, The Independent on Sunday

"Hare's interviews are, for the most part, essentially decent, very sharp and often surprisingly funny. Best of all, numerous interviews have the kind of unpredictable, off-the-wall authenticity that would be difficult to invent."—The Sunday Times

Reviews from Goodreads



  • David Hare

  • David Hare was born in Sussex, England, in 1947. In 1970, his first play, Slag, was performed at the Hampstead Theatre Club. Since 1983, several of Hare's best-known plays—including Plenty, The Secret Rapture, Skylight, Racing Demon, The Judas Kiss, Amy's View, and Via Dolorosa—have been presented on Broadway. Hare lives in London.