Mark Rylance

Authored by: Bridget Escolme

The Routledge Companion to Directors’ Shakespeare

Print publication date:  April  2010
Online publication date:  June  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415400442
eBook ISBN: 9780203932520
Adobe ISBN: 9781134146482

10.4324/9780203932520.ch24

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Abstract

In 1995, Mark Rylance was appointed as Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, the London reconstruction of the Shakespeare’s public playhouse. He differs from many of the directors in this volume in that he performed in, rather than directed, much of the work there; he has been called, by himself and others, an actor-manager. He has spoken out against awards for individuals in the theatre and has repeatedly drawn attention to the achievements of the ensemble at the Globe. During his tenure, his starting points for producing Shakespeare were not only the plays but also a range of external influences and pressures, both material and spiritual: the demands that the architecture of the reconstructed theatre make of text and performance, his sense of the English Renaissance’s spiritual relationship with the classical world, the meanings potentially created in the live encounter between performer and audience. He was the director of a building and a set of experimental artistic practices rather than, very often, the director of plays. However, his work at the Globe makes an important intervention in a volume about ‘Directors’ Shakespeare’, as it challenges the very notion of a Shakespeare waiting to be released by one man or woman’s creative vision.

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