A Secretary of State for Health and Social Care makes a racist comment to her attending doctor when her child is rushed into hospital; a prominent travel writer is held responsible for a suicide after a scathing review; an employee of an aid organisation demands the recompense she truly needs from the CEO after a disingenuous public apology.
The Apologists presents three topical stories which combined provide a powerful examination of the meaning of the act of apology, the complex power play at work between the giver and the receiver of an apology, and whether we are responsible for the context of our actions. Each solo story focuses on a female character, a high-profile woman, and the issues raised also shine a light on gender inequality and social justice.
The show was first piloted at the 2019 VAULT Festival and received critical acclaim and now returns to London for six nights. Performed by critically acclaimed Australian actress, Gabrielle Scawthorn (The Doctor Blake Mysteries, The Killing Fields, Village Bike) and directed by Jane Moriarty (RSC, The National, Shakespeare’s Globe). Both collaborated on the show’s development with writers Iskandar Sharazuddin (Punchdrunk, The Royal Court), Lucinda Burnett (Paines Plough) and Cordelia O’Neill (HighTide Festival).
Gabrielle Scawthorn says: “In many ways, the public apology is the ultimate act of solo performance. We see so many acts of public apologies these days. You only have to read or hear the news to find public apology, or in some cases non-apology, all the time. Prince Andrew, The Pope, Justin Timberlake. We are constantly deconstructing the authenticity of this act, the way one might deconstruct a piece of theatre. This show will be a really challenging triptych of monologues that asks a lot of questions.”
Jane Moriarty adds: “There are so many questions around the act of apology that are really ripe for drama. Who is the beneficiary of an apology? What does it change? What makes an apology successful? The pieces really delve into the complex power play that is at work between the giver and the receiver of an apology, and whether we are responsible for the context of our actions.”
The Apologists is a predominantly female-led production showcasing the work of a female working-class performer, a female director and two female playwrights, as well as the work of a South-East Asian Muslim writer to a wider audience.
The Apologists runs at the Omnibus Theatre, London from 3 to 8 March.