'Rooster' Rylance repeats Olivia role


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The Independent Culture

Nobody can deny that Mark Rylance is adaptable. Last year his role in the hit play Jerusalem won him an Olivier award; next year he'll be donning a dress and calling himself Olivia.

Fresh from his triumph playing the tattooed former daredevil Johnny "Rooster" Byron – with Jerusalem now in its second run of West End sell-out performances – the former artistic director of the Globe is returning to his old stomping ground to take up starring roles in not one but two Shakespeare productions.

As well as the title role in Richard III, the Globe's 2012 season will see Rylance reprise the part of Lady Olivia in a traditional all-male production of Twelfth Night. It is a role he played to great acclaim on the same stage 10 years previously, during his time acting and directing at the open-air theatre after its opening in 1995.

The 51-year-old, who also won a Tony award for Jerusalem when it transferred to Broadway, has a keen interest in recreating the original practices of Elizabethan theatre, including female characters being played by men.

Rylance's approach to the Bard is not always traditional. He is among several actors who controversially argue that Shakespeare did not write all the plays attributed to him.