I caught up with Saffron Burrows on a recent two-show day, in which the matinee audience, she said, had been “very receptive.” The actors, too, are at a wonderful level of responsiveness. “There’s a lightness, now, in the playing,” Burrows said. “It’s lovely to have that lightness. It's been hard-won, after a lot of work from all of us – actors, director, and writer.”

Burrows, who in Corruption plays the Murdoch media executive Rebekah Brooks, elaborated on the process behind all the work. Speaking of the production’s director, Bartlett Sher, and its writer, J.T. Rogers, Burrows said, “When I talked to Bart and J.T. about the project initially, they very much wanted it to be alive and collaborative. I loved how open they were – it’s a sign of great confidence when the creators are truly open to suggestions from everyone in the room. That’s rare.”

Collaboration was especially welcome, Burrows said, “because in the play we’re dealing with very recent history. All of us actors were listening to things and reading articles: doing research. It was very useful to bring all that to the rehearsal room and have it heard.” Burrows added: “Early on, Bart and J.T gave us permission for this to be a play. It’s not a biopic or anyone’s memoir.”

Even though Corruption is not a literal version of its real-life characters, Burrows found it helpful to do some digging into the woman she plays. “Rebekah Brooks has worked incredibly hard to get to where she is and yet has been patronized by Murdoch family members who haven’t had to do the same.” She added: “She’s in a world controlled by straight white men and has had to fight her way.”

Burrows is grateful for the way Rogers has written her character. “I was keen not to have her story be that of an evil woman,” she said. “And J.T. has written the character as beautifully complex and funny.” Burrows is very aware of what her big boss, the eldest Murdoch, signifies to many people. “When I was starting out as an actor,” Burrows said, “I did one of Dennis Potter’s last pieces. He wrote it as he was dying of cancer. And he called his cancer ‘Rupert’.”

In her career Burrows, who grew up in London, has alternated between plays and movies. Shortly before Corruption rehearsals began she was in Belfast, Northern Ireland, filming a picture called The Morrigan, with Toby Stephens, who in Corruption plays Tom Watson, the central character.

“Toby urged me to do this play,” Burrows said. “And I’m so glad he did, because I’ve enjoyed all stages of the process. The rehearsal room with its give and take. The early previews where you might be handed a new scene and have to perform it that night. And now, when the text and staging are set and the actors can really play with the performing of it night after night. When every performance begins now I ask myself, ‘Okay, where is it going to go this evening?’ You never know. And that’s wonderful.”

Brendan Lemon is a freelance journalist in New York.