Cate Blanchett in Plenty, 1999

Cate Blanchett in Plenty, 1999

Originally performed at the National Theatre in 1978, David Hare's Plenty was revived by the Almeida Theatre Company at the Albery Theatre in 1999.

The central character is Susan Traherne, played by Cate Blanchett, whose life-shaping experiences start at the time when she worked for the Special Operations Executive during the War. Dropped behind enemy lines, she lives at a pitch that cannot be sustained within the disappointing post-war culture and politics of the 1950s. The play shows a disillusioned and angry woman over 20 years of her life. It was inspired, Hare said, by the statistic that 75% of women involved in such operations divorced during peacetime.

The play is not just about loss of youthful hope and a descent into madness, however, it is also about the powerfully dissenting character of Susan who is both vulnerable and antagonistic. Hare is considered - as this play confirms - one of the best modern writers of female roles.