Middle-aged men desperately try to cling on to life in David Mamet’s Olivier and Pulitzer Prize-winning classic Glengarry Glen Ross which plays Theatre Royal Brighton from April 22-27.
Lies. Greed. Corruption. It’s business as usual.
Set in an office of cut-throat Chicago salesmen, the play sees the salesmen pitched in a high-stakes competition against each other, four increasingly-desperate employees will do anything, legal or otherwise, to sell the most real estate.
As time and luck start to run out, the mantra is simple: close the deal and you’ve won a Cadillac; blow the lead and you’ve had it.
Nigel Harman is loving his first full Mamet production.
“He pushes the boundaries at some levels, and he writes unflinchingly about people, not necessarily in the best light… and he then demands that everyone keeps up
“It’s really exciting to be doing it now. I saw it in London and I was working with the producers on something else, and they asked if I wanted to do it on tour. It is the first time this play has toured the UK.
“It was 83 when it was first done at the National. I knew it. I had seen the film and I had read it. It is a modern-day classic out of America.”
The salesmen are fighting for their survival, knowing they are becoming obsolescent, that they are no longer required.
“It is very perceptive. And I also think it explores toxic masculinity, and you see what is happening in the White House and the Houses of Parliament, and you can see it is still going on.
“Because it deals with human nature, it is about the good and the bad, and because of that, I think the play will live on forever. I hear that they are doing an all-female production in New York.
“When you are in the room with these characters, it is very funny. The lengths that these men go to to make sales is incredible, but when you look back, you realise that they are quite unscrupulous. It is about money and desperation.”
Nigel has enjoyed a busy career in which he has spanned both stage and screen, with his TV credits including Cuckoo 4, Mount Pleasant, Downton Abbey, City of Vice, EastEnders, Hotel Babylon and Lark Rise to Candleford.
“But I always find my way back to an audience somehow.”
The big attraction of theatre is simply that it is live: “You are all sharing an experience together in the same room at the same time.
“Whatever day the audience has had, whatever day I have had, we are all there together, for escapism, for release.
“The screen by definition is a step away from life.
“When you film a scene, it is filmed from different angles and then it is all put back together again and it is a mish-mash.
“But also by the time the audience watch it, it is something that has happened in the past.”
The excitement of theatre, by contrast, is that it is happening right now, before your eyes.
“It really is in the present.”
Joining Nigel in the hard-hitting sales team in Sam Yates’ production of David Mamet’s Denis Conway (The Lieutenant of Inishmore) as Dave Moss; Wil Johnson (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead) as George Aaronow; Scott Sparrow (King Lear) as John Williamson; James Staddon (Goodnight Mister Tom) as James Lingk; Zephryn Taitte (The Jungle Book) as Baylen; and Mark Benton (Shelly ‘The Machine’ Levene) and Nigel Harman (Ricky Roma).
Nigel’s screen credits include: Cuckoo 4, Mount Pleasant, Downton Abbey, City of Vice, EastEnders, Hotel Babylon, Lark Rise to Candleford, Miss Marple The Mirror Crack’d, Red Cap, The Outsiders, Patience, Telstar and Blood Diamond.
Tickets on www.atgtickets.com/brighton or 0844 871 7650. Booking fees apply.