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5 September 2009updated 27 Sep 2015 4:07am

Culture and the credit crunch

Dramatists confront the financial crisis

By Seher Hussain

This autumn, in deference to the zeitgeist, new releases in theatre, television and film will tackle the financial crisis. As Michael Coveney writes excitedly in Prospect, this is turning out to be one of best years in London theatre for some time.

Previewing Enron, the much-anticipated play about the company’s spectacular collapse in 2001, Coveney describes how the director Robert Goold uses an expressionist style to capture the physical thrill of deal-making and double-bluff. The traders sit at illuminated desks, like regimented figures in a dance piece; the stage is hung with celestial neon-lit pipes; the banking Lehman Brothers are portrayed as a comic double act crammed into one large pinstriped suit and the doomed accountancy firm Arthur Andersen is a mute ventriloquist’s dummy.

The BBC jumps on the bandwagon with The Day that Lehman Died, a radio drama by Matthew Solon, which traces the fall of Lehman Brothers, the largest bankruptcy in US history. And David Hare premieres The Power of Yes, described as the dramatist’s attempt to “understand the financial crisis”, at the National Theatre.

On Hare’s heels is Michael Moore, who in his documentary Capitalism: a Love Story takes a jab at the wealthy that is sure to raise hackles. According to Moore, “this film has got it all: lust, passion, romance and 14,000 jobs being eliminated every day”.

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The New Statesman will be assessing the crisis a year on from the Lehman’s collapse in next week’s issue. In the meantime, take a look at an earlier post by my colleague Jonathan Derbyshire on the “crisis novel”.

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