Sarah Raskin, Dramaturg
Racing Demon, though universal in theme, deals specifically with a religious institution struggling to maintain its relevance to people's lives as the 21st century approaches. Its leaders grapple with both their own spirituality and their conflicting interpretations of how to carry out the church's mission. No one, even supposedly pious professionals steeped in honesty, service and tradition is above human failings; Racing Demon touches on their dilemmas of doubt, games of political favorites and power-mongerings. For Lionel, the question is where to find the recognizable presence of God; Southwark's concern is how to retain tradition in a world of change; Harry struggles to maintain a level of personal modesty to ensure his professional security; Tony tries, to the opposition of his mentors, to encourage an enthusiasm previously missing from their approach; Streaky ponders why everyone else injects complexity into a simple concept. These yearnings are what draw us in to identify with David Hare's characters. These are not lofty, infallible men, nor is God to whom they speak uncomplicated. These are dedicated leaders whose conflicts lie in the execution of their mission, because their passion for the cause is overwhelming. Racing Demon reminds us that our institutions, and their representatives, are simultaneously frustrating and comforting, challenging and loving.
The Structure Of The Church of England