BBC World Service, 6 September 2009
This contemporary morality-play showed how a combination of arrogance
and self-interest led to the collapse of the merchant bank Lehman Brothers. Rather than adjusting themselves to straitened
financial circumstances, traders continued to speculate wildly - as result, the bank overheated and went bust. Had anyone
paused to reflect on the consequences of their actions, then perhaps the debacle could have been avoided. But such considerations
are unimportant in the get-rich-quick world of high finance. Caryl Churchill's Serious Money (1987)
satirized the yuppies, who openly paraded their wealth both inside and outside the workplace. The Day That Lehman Died
showed what can happen in an unregulated stock market where everyone strives to make a financial killing.
Solon created a male-dominated world, whose members jostled for promotion and pecuniary
rewards. No one remained content with their lot; this was considered soft - and hence unmanly. This world-view also meant
that no one thought about the consequences of their actions; it was just 'bad luck' that they were ruined financially. More
damagingly, the traders complacently assumed that the American government would bail them out - after all, no politician
would want to see such a long-established institution go to the wall. As things turned out, this is precisely what did
happen, proving beyond doubt the wisdom of thinking before leaping.
This cautionary tale of boom and bust was performed by a cast led by John Shea
and directed by John Dryden.