Two acclaimed British actors, Clare Higgins and Greg Hicks, are to star in the World Premiere of Clarion, set in the office of Britain’s worst newspaper, the Daily Clarion.
Written by Mark Jagasia, who worked as a journalist for several Fleet Street newspapers, Clarion is a black comedy about free speech, nationalism and the state of the British media in 2015.
Clarion will have a 5-week season at Arcola Theatre from Wednesday 15th April to Saturday 16th May in an explosive production from Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen.
Morris Honeyspoon (Greg Hicks), the Clarion’s egomaniacal editor, spends his weekends dressed as Julius Caesar, and at work he rules like a tyrant. But life at his beloved paper is a masterclass in incompetence and deceit. As political storm clouds gather over an uneasy country, it seems the paper’s worst crimes are about to be exposed. With Honeyspoon frantically searching for an office traitor, washed-up foreign correspondent Verity Stokes (Clare Higgins) masterminds a murderous day of reckoning…
Mark Jagasia’s debut play shines a blinding light on the dark heart of our democracy. Its themes of rising nationalism and political turbulence are powerfully relevant in this year with a general election.
The rest of the cast are: Peter Bourke, Jim Bywater, Jim Dunkley, Laura Smithers, Ryan Wichert.
Clare Higgins said: “Mark’s play is blisteringly funny, brilliantly written but also a huge wake-up call, examining the underbelly of life in the newsrooms of our national press. Verity is a terrific role and as soon as I read it I didn’t want anyone else but me playing her!”
Greg Hicks said: “The language is electric, savage and provocative. The combination of returning to the Arcola, and finding a script of this calibre, is all I can ask for as an actor.”
Mark Jagasia said: “I’m remarkably privileged to have stars of the calibre of Greg Hicks and Clare Higgins bringing these characters to life. For a debut play, it’s dream come true stuff”.
Mehmet Ergen said: “As we’re rehearsing Clarion, my production of Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre is playing downstairs. One confronts the state of the British media; the other the state of modern warfare. Both are vital world premieres. As the election looms, I’m proud that Arcola Theatre is tackling big political questions with daring political plays.”
Clare Higgins has recently co-starred with Glenn Close on Broadway in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. She has been nominated six times as Best Actress in the Olivier Awards and won three times for Vincent in Brixton, Sweet Bird of Youth, and Hecuba. She was twice named London Critics’ Circle Theatre Award Best Actress, for her performances in Vincent in Brixton and The Children’s Hour and Sweet Bird of Youth. She won the Evening Standard Best Actress Award for Vincent in Brixton. She was nominated for the Best Actress Tony Award for Vincent in Brixton and won the 2003 Theatre World Award for outstanding major Broadway debut. Her film and TV credits include the Philip Pullman adaptation The Golden Compass; Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream; Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont; Stage Beauty; House of Mirth; Hellraiser, and Hellbound: Hellraiser II; Downton Abbey; Shameless; and Parade’s End. Last year she co-starred with Paul McGann in a special online episode of Doctor Who, The Night of the Doctor, which preceded the 50th Anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor – as Ohila, a member of the Sisterhood of Karn who help the Doctor regenerate into his next incarnation, John Hurt. She will return to Doctor Who in the two-part season 9 opening episodes this autumn.
Greg Hicks has been a member of The Royal Shakespeare Company since 1976. He was nominated for the Best Actor Olivier Award, and won Best Shakespearian Performance at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, for playing the title role in Coriolanus at the Old Vic. Leading RSC roles include the title roles in King Lear and Macbeth and Brutus in Julius Caesar. He was Orestes in The Oresteia at the National Theatre and Christ in Steven Berkoff’s Messiah at the Old Vic. He is returning to Arcola Theatre for the first time since playing Dr Thomas Stockmann in Mehmet Ergen’s 2008 production of An Enemy of the People.
Mark Jagasia is a former staff journalist on the Evening Standard, a former showbusiness editor of the Daily Express and a contributor to other newspapers including the Guardian and Sunday Telegraph. He is originally from Bolton but has lived in London for the past 20 years. Clarion is his first stage-play.”
24 Ashwin Street
London, E8 3DL
Wednesday 15 April – Saturday 16 May
Press night: Wednesday 22 April at 7.30pm
Monday – Saturday evenings at 7:30pm
Running Time to be confirmed with first preview
Thursday 19th March 2015