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 some respects, Hare was disappointed at the response to the