- "Stuff happens and it’s untidy, and freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.” (April 11, 2003)
The play presents a mix of viewpoints, including arguments for and against the attack on Iraq, mixing verbatim re-creations of real speeches, meetings and press conferences and fictionalized versions of private meetings between members of the Bush and Blair administrations, and international figures such as Hans Blix and Dominique de Villepin.
Plot and style
David Hare’s Stuff Happens is a play about the events that led up to the 2003 Iraq War, beginning at about the time of George W. Bush's election in America in 2000. Parts of the dialogue are direct quotes from the characters' real-world counterparts. The author has stated that the dialogue is not “knowingly untrue” but he had to sometimes “use his imagination” to cover events that were not recorded verbatim, admitting that his play is not a documentary as such.
The world premiere of Stuff Happens opened at the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre in London on September 1, 2004  and has subsequently been performed at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum (with Keith Carradine and Julian Sands) in June 2005 and at Sydney's Seymour Center (with Rhys Muldoon and Greg Stone) in July 2005. Greg Stone won a Helpmann for Best Male Actor in a Play in 2006. It has also been performed at Western Washington University under the direction of Mark Kuntz in November 2007.
It debuted in New York City in March 2006 at the Public Theater. Director Daniel Sullivan chose a small venue at the Newman Theater at the Public. This created an atmosphere such “as if the audience too is participating in this re-creation of recent events”.
By 2008, Stuff Happens had been showcased across the globe.
On February 23, 2008, Stuff Happens opened in the Theatre in Katowice, Poland, directed by Andrew S. Paul, of Pittsburgh, Pa, USA.
The play's New England premiere was performed by the Zeitgeist Stage Company in October 2008 - December 2008 and went on to win the Elliott Norton Award for Outstanding Fringe Theatre Production. It was performed by Boston University's School of Theatre in April 2008. The District of Columbia premiere was performed by Georgetown University's undergraduate theatre program.
A one-off revival of the play took place as a rehearsed reading at the National Theatre to mark the release of the Chilcot inquiry on July 6, 2016. Directed by David Hare, the production featured Alex Jennings returning to the role of George W. Bush, Julian Sands returning as Tony Blair and Bill Nighy as the Narrator.
- Hare, David. Stuff Happens. New York. Faber and Faber, Inc., 2004. author's note.
- Brantley, Ben. David Hare's 'Stuff Happens': All the President's Men in 'On the Road to Baghdad'. The New York Times. 14 Apr 2006 http://theater2.nytimes.com/2006/04/14/theater/reviews/14stuf.html
- Rawson, Christopher. Katowice Journal: Andrew Paul in Poland. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2 Mar 2008 http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08063/859649-325.stm
- Ouzounian, Richard. Stuff Happens stirs Iraq debate. TheStar.com 2 Mar 2008 http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/Theatre/article/308527
- Stuff Happens – original London production at the Olivier Theatre of the National Theatre (September–December 2004)
- Stuff Happens – New York production by The Public Theater (March 28, 2006 – June 25, 2006).
- 'Known Knowns', review in the Oxonian Review
- Stuff Happens - revival reading at the Lyttleton Theatre of the National Theatre