The Guthrie Theater has teamed up with American Repertory Theater to co-commission and co-develop a new play cycle by actor, director, and writer Mark Rylance and actor, pianist, and artist Peter Reder.
Titled Steel, the six-part historical drama will bring to life the Age of Steel, a period between the Civil War and World War I, with a focus on the Carnegie Steel Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the core of the play cycle is the 1892 Battle of Homestead when, during a lockout, thousands of workers at Carnegie Steel Company clashed with privately hired security guards. The battle, which resulted in a number of deaths, is considered a key moment in the history of U.S. labor relations.
“It’s a story worthy of Shakespeare,” said Rylance at the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Homestead—which he began researching in 2003—at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library Music Hall in 2017. “We should never forget the role of labor and industry and what it’s done for a nation. This story is essential to American culture. It shaped where we are now.”
Steel will be directed by Claire van Kampen, Rylance's spouse and whose play with music, Farinelli and the King, was seen on Broadway and in the West End starring Rylance as King Philippe V.
The co-commission provides for the development and realization of the first two parts in the six-part series.