I was thrilled to learn that Mark Rylance received last night’s Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Olivia in Twelfth Night. How good is Mark Rylance? Good enough that my husband and I made a trip from Milwaukee to New York last fall for the sole reason of seeing him and the rest of the cast in a double feature of Twelfth Night and Richard III.
We were not disappointed. You can see a short clip from Twelfth Night below. Rylance plays Olivia, a grieving woman of noble birth who is smitten with the young Cesario, not knowing that Cesario is really another woman, Viola, in disguise (played by Samuel Barnett, whose performance also earned him a Tony nomination).
As if his acting isn’t enough, I am a Mark Rylance fan for at least two other reasons. He was born in Kent, England but grew up on the United States, spending much of his youth just a few miles north of where we live in Wisconsin and graduating from a local private high school before starting his professional training at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
Reason number three is easy: Mark Rylance has given some of the best award acceptance speeches ever. Last night he offered a straight-forward and sincere expression of gratitude to the late Sam Wanamaker for his part in reconstructing Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (the third of the videos below), but his previous two Tony acceptance speeches are, well, I’ll leave it to you to fill in the blank. My kind of humor.
2008 Tony Acceptance Speech
2011 Tony Acceptance Speech
2014 Tony Acceptance Speech