Playing the devil. Greg Hicks is Richard III for Arcola spring season

Greg Hicks as Richard III. Image Alex Brenner

Shakespearean actor Greg Hicks plays the villainous king in Richard III and Neil Bartlett is set to direct his new adaptation of Albert Camus’ modern classic, The Plague, for the spring/ summer season at London’s Arcola Theatre.

Other highlights include a story from Argentina’s Dirty War, These Trees Are Made of Blood, directed by Amy Draper, Yellow Earth’s radical retelling of Christopher Marlowe’s classic, Tamburlaine, adapted and directed by Ng Choon Ping and starring Lourdes Faberes, and Alexandra Badea’s award-winning new play, The Pulverised, which gets its UK premiere in a co-production by Arcola, Changing Face & York Theatre Royal.

Finally, Helena Bell, artistic director of Kali Theatre, will direct the world premiere of Ready or Not, by Naylah Ahmed, as part of a UK tour.

The Arcola’s artistic director, Mehmet Ergen, said: “Arcola’s new season confronts tyranny – the tyranny of people by rulers (Richard III, Tamburlaine, These Trees), states of emergency (The Plague, Ready Or Not) and work in the global economy (The Pulverised).

“At a time when the world order is under strain – but also when ordinary people are feeling the strain of that change – these plays offer a chance to reflect on our afflictions, and on ways we might resist the worst excesses of power.

“In-keeping with Arcola’s commitment to diverse theatre, the season features new productions from leading BAMER companies Yellow Earth and Kali Theatre. Half of the shows are directed by women, including two original works by female playwrights.”

Studio 1: The Plague, April 5 – May 6, based on La Peste by Albert Camus Adapted and directed by Neil Bartlett.

Albert Camus’ electrifying story, about fighting back against despair, was written in the aftermath of the Nazis’ march across Europe and it struck a powerful chord with millions struggling to understand the fascist ‘plague’ that had just overwhelmed them.

Multi-award-winning director Neil Bartlett retells Camus’ classic for our own dangerous times. His frank and gripping new stage adaptation puts chaos under the microscope, and plants the germ of hope in the power of our common humanity.

Cast: Joseph Alessi, Burt Caesar, Billy Postlethwaite, Sara Powell, Martin Turner

Richard III, May 11 – June 10, gripping and outrageous, Shakespeare’s Richard III is the tale of a ruthless, power-crazed misogynist who lies and cheats his way to the highest seat in the land.

Following his celebrated performances as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus and King Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Greg Hicks takes on the role of the tyrant king in this startling new production, directed by Arcola’s artistic director Mehmet Ergen.

These Trees Are Made of Blood, June 14 – July 15, is set in 1970s Argentina. A violent, right-wing dictatorship. Thousands of citizens, seized by the authorities, have “disappeared”.

Inside the country’s most disreputable club, a mother is about to risk everything to find her missing daughter.

Studio 2: Tamburlaine, March 15 – April 8

Tamburlaine is a breathtaking interrogation of power, masculinity and the limits of violence. In his new adaptation Ng Choon Ping directs a British-East Asian cast with Lourdes Faberes makes her Arcola debut as Tamburlaine.

Cast: Melody Brown, Lourdes Faberes, Fiona Hampton, Susan Hingley, Amanda Maud, Leo Wan.

Live taiko drumming by Joji Hirota.

Ready or Not, April 11 – 29, Naylah Ahmed’s timely political thriller starts with an innocent encounter and soon develops into a dangerous game of hide and seek with the truth.

Cast: Joan Blackham, Naeem Hayat, Natasha Rickman

The Pulverised, May 2 – 27, Alexandra Badea’s captivating drama is a powerful and disturbing portrait of globalisation and its far-reaching effects on our lives.

Translated by Lucy Phelps and directed by Andy Sava. A quality assurance officer from France, a call centre manager from Senegal, a factory worker from China, and an engineer from Romania. Each leads a life apart, but all work round-the-clock for the same multinational corporation.

When work has no borders, what’s the cost?

Leave a Reply