Rylance Plays Prospero & Plautus for Globe FinaleDate: 10 November 2004
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 26 Oct 2004), Mark Rylance (pictured) will play Prospero next summer in a new production of The Tempest as part of his final season as artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe. Continuing the tempestuous theme, he will also star in the premiere of a specially commissioned version of Plautus’ Greco-Roman comedy, The Storm, in a season that celebrates the influence of classical Greece on Shakespeare’s works.
The open air theatre’s summer repertory programme, running from 6 May to 2 October 2005 and titled “The Season of the World and Underworld”, comprises four new productions – Shakespeare’s Pericles and The Winter’s Tale in addition to The Tempest and The Storm - all of which tell stories of daughters lost and found between the two worlds.
In The Tempest, which kicks off the schedule on 6 May, all the characters will be played by just three actors, including Rylance. They’ll be supported by three dancers and six musicians. The production will be directed by Tim Carroll. Plautus’ The Storm, written in the second century BC, has been newly adapted by Peter Oswald, who updated Lucius Apuleius' erotic comedy The Golden Ass for the Globe in 2002. It will also be directed by Carroll.
Rylance has played the role of Prospero on the South Bank site before – albeit back in 1991 before the theatre that he’s helped to turn into an international landmark was built there. As part of the Globe’s annual programming, the play was first performed in 2000.
Next summer will mark the first time that Pericles will be presented at the Globe. The production will be a modern staging performed by a mixed company of men and women and directed by Kathryn Hunter, who starred in last summer’s all-female productions of Richard III and The Taming of the Shrew. Hunter has previously directed The Comedy of Errors at the Globe in 1999.
The Winter’s Tale will be an “original practices” production, exploring the clothing, music, dance and settings from the bard’s time, although it too will be performed by a mixed-gender company. It will be directed by John Dove.
Alongside the main productions, the “Persephone Projects”, a programme of two minimal productions, will focus on “the soul of acting skills” at the Globe. In The Fall of Man , written by Jack Shepherd and Oliver Cotton, Shepherd and Marcello Magni will lead the Pericles company in an exploration of mask usage. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Giles Block – who has steered the theatre’s search for natural, spontaneous speech of Shakespeare’s works since 1999 – will lead The Winter’s Tale company in an “exploration of eloquence” via Troilus and Cressida.
Mark Rylance announced in September that he would step down in December 2005 after ten years as the Globe’s artistic director (See News, 15 Sep 2004). In a recent Big Debate poll on Whatsonstage.com, 91% of theatregoers said that he had done a good job, singling out, amongst other achievements, “his overall enthusiasm, leadership and company spirit” (59%) as well as “his own memorable performances” (45%). A successor has not yet been appointed.
Further casting and full performance dates have not yet been announced for the Globe’s 2005 season. Public booking opens on 14 February 2005.
- by Terri Paddock