The title of the play comes from the world of combat medicine and refers to the period directly after a disaster where one can be of the most help. Well, this play is certainly not a disaster. This is one of those play written by a very intelligent man. Early on, Iraq was a quagmire. Julianne Moore's character felt she could help. She went to the White House to advise President Bush. She was a liberal voice of decent, but went to try and influence the course of events - at the time she felt it would do the most good -- The Vertical Hour. Hence the theme of the play is established. And rings true in many ways in the several other relationships in the course of the play.
The play is about complex individuals. And it draws parallels to government and politics. It deals with how parents meddle in their children's lives; how a teacher gets drawn into her students' lives; and need you guess - how a government meddles in foreign affairs (i.e. Iraq).
Seems there are quite a few political play on Broadway this year. More than ever before. But you have to imagine it was bound to happen with the current world political environment.
I'm a sucker for a play with meaning, depth, and intelligence. At the same time, I know i didn't "get" probably half of what David Hare would intend me to have gotten. But that's OK - what i did get was that Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy were magical on stage. The intrigue and the tension were palpable. The dialogue, flawless. You feel the sense of attraction, of intellect and desire. I do think that Julianne needs to adjust to stage acting a bit, however. (and i did see it on the it's first preview - the world premire). With time, let's hope she moves into a more comfortable place because she does seem to fit the character quite nicely.
Kudos to David Hare for a magnificent (and intelligent) evening of theater.