Tony and Olivier winner Mark Rylance will star in a rehearsed reading of his first play, I Am Shakespeare, at London's The Old Vic November 27 at 3 PM. The special single performance celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust.
The comedy of Shakespearean identity crisis, which originally premiered in 2007, will reunite the original cast, including Sean Foley as Barry Wild, Alex Hassell as Edward de Vere, 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. Further casting will be announced at a later date.
The reading will also feature narration by Annabel Leventon and music by Claire van Kampen. Following the reading will be 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. "Matthew Warchus directed, and the company developed the idea. 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. I am delighted to revive it for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust."
I Am Shakespeare fllows 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.
Rylance has also revealed the reading will feature 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. They will be on show at The Old Vic. Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, and Tony Curtis will all be appearing as well."
For tickets and more information, visit OldVicTheatre.com.