Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Jeremy Irons returns to RSC after 23 years

Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons won a best actor Oscar for Reversal of Fortune in 1990

Jeremy Irons is to return to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) for the first time in 23 years to star in Dennis Kelly's new play The Gods Weep.

Irons was last with the company in 1986/7 playing Leontes in The Winter's Tale and the title role in Richard II.

His other recent theatre work includes Impressionism (Broadway 2009), Never So Good (National Theatre 2008), and Embers (Duke of York's 2006).

The Gods Weep begins on 12 March at London's Hampstead Theatre.

Directed by Maria Aberg, the play "explores what happens when corporate greed and state security frighteningly overlap".

Irons will play Colm, who unleashes "a bloody power struggle" when he decides to divide up his empire between his subordinates.

Power shift

Playwright Kelly said: "I wanted to write about power; attaining power, what power gives us, what it lacks and what life is like when it is gone and we are left powerless.

"During the current economic crisis I became obsessed with how power changes hands and that how, in any historical moment, it resides with a particular group of people, and that no matter who these people are, whether they are kings, queens, parliaments, feudal lords, business magnates or a democratic electorate, it is almost impossible for them to imagine power shifting into other hands.

"And yet, eventually, it always does."

Kelly's recent work includes Orphans, DNA, Love and Money and Osama the Hero which premiered at Hampstead Theatre.

He is currently under commission by the RSC to write the book for Matilda, A Musical to be staged in Stratford-upon-Avon in late 2010.

Irons' extensive film and TV work includes Brideshead Revisited, The Mission, The Lion King, Kingdom of Heaven and The Merchant of Venice.

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