Mark Rylance's latest venture into Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, will launch Shakespeare's Globe's 2002 season, with a press night on May 22.
Rylance staged an advance performance of this production at Middle Temple Hall, on February 2, to mark the 400th anniversary of the play's first production at that same venue.
As in some previous productions at the Globe (including a memorable Henry V with Rylance in the title role), this production features an all-male cast, which gives the plot of the play (in which a girl is mistaken for a boy — a classic Shakespearean device for a comedy of sexual and social manners) an extra twist.
The device was also used, to great effect, in the hit film "Shakespeare in Love," in which Gwyneth Paltrow played a girl playing a boy in order to perform Shakespeare's latest play (Romeo and Juliet, according to the film) in an all-male acting company. "Shakespeare in Love" ends with the playwright using this "real-life" subterfuge and sexual confusion as the inspiration for Twelfth Night.
The play is a popular one with regular Shakespeareans and, given that this is the 400th anniversary year, a canny one (press and publicity wise) for Rylance, the Globe's Artistic Director, to kick off the annual season with.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow