Reconstruction of the past can rarely be complete. While the physical surroundings and style of a period can be invoked, we can never reconstruct how exactly people feel or think at a given moment. I say this because it involves the question of honesty- a theme which David Hare, one of Britain’s major playwrights, constantly explores. But reconstruction also involves the question of truth: to what extent does a writer reconstruct the past in order to confirm people’s view of a given period?
Take the Second World War. In Hare’s Licking Hitler, a television play set in a wartime research unit which specialises in black propaganda, the underlying theme is the problem of lying and the inherent corruption that goes with it. In