Mark Rylance has loved the works of Shakespeare since he was sixteen years old. He has devoted his life to performing the plays (staging over 55 of them) and interpreting their inexhaustible meanings. He helped create the “new” Globe Theater in London and was its artistic director for its first ten years. Mark believes there is both historical and literary merit to inquiring into the Shakespeare authorship question, and even looking at other writers besides the traditional man from Stratford. He has never been strident or overly zealous about the issue, but he has taken a very courageous stand (after all, the Shakespeare establishment launches fierce attacks against any public figure with the tenacity to question their feeble orthodox version of the story), and has encouraged research into this enigmatic question.
As a result, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (the people responsible for maintaining the legacy of the Stratford Man) has slandered Rylance by publically referring to him as “anti-Shakespearean.” It was of course absurd, but showed how shameless the Birthplace Trust can be when defending their “man.”
So it was a great thing for Mark to be recognized at the Tony Awards In New York for his Shakespeare work. He’s won previous Tonys for Boeing-Boeing and Jerusalem, but it was especially gratifying for him – and a boost for the Shakespeare Canon overall – to be named best actor in a featured role for his portrayal of Olivia in the spectacular production of 12th Night. “It’s nice to be celebrated for my Shakespeare work at the moment,” he said, “because I love Shakespeare. I’ve loved him since I first came across the plays. And it hurts me to be slandered in that way.” (see link below to his comments)
For your artistry and unwavering courage.
The Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable