Tony and Olivier winner Mark Rylance's first play, I Am Shakespeare, is presented at London's The Old Vic in a rehearsed reading November 27 at 3 PM. Rylance stars as Frank Charlton in the special single performance, held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust.
I Am Shakespeare follows English teacher Frank Charlton as he records yet another live webcast about who actually authored the plays attributed to one William Shakespeare. While most of the hotline calls are from his neighbor Barry, this time some new and surprising voices make their cases.
The comedy of Shakespearean identity crisis originally premiered in 2007, and its cast reunites for The Old Vic performance, including Sean Foley as Barry Wild, Colin Hurley as William Shakspar, Sam Parks as Sergeant Trevor Freeman/His Twin/Telephone Salesman, Juliet Rylance as Lady Mary Sidney, and Mark Rylance as Frank Charlton. Annabel Leventon plays Narrator.
The reading features music by Claire van Kampen, and is followed by a Q&A with Mark Rylance and talks from the cast and Shakespearean Authorship Trustees.
"This is the first play I wrote for Chichester Festival Theatre in 2007 after leaving The Globe," Rylance said in a statement. "I wrote about something I knew about, the Shakespeare Authorship Question and the many wonderful people I have met who support different candidates. It is a question some people take very seriously and that makes it a good subject matter for comedy. The play says everything I want to say about the question."
Rylance has previously revealed that the reading features particularly developed costumes, supported by the Shakespearean Authorship Trust, "who financed the authentic recreation of clothing for the four candidates who appear in the play: Francis Bacon, The Earl of Oxford, Mary Sidney and of course William Shakespeare himself. Jenny Tiramani, Director of the School of Historical Dress in Lambeth, and my associate designer during my time at the Globe, painstakingly researched and constructed these authentic clothes. ... Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, and Tony Curtis will all be appearing as well."
For tickets and more information, visit OldVicTheatre.com.