I was lucky enough to see Mark Rylance as Olivia in "Twelfth Night" when it came to Los Angeles a few years ago. He was pure joy to watch, and I've never forgotten his performance. Here's a wonderful clip:
So it was a thrill to come across this article by theatre critic Ben Brantley in the NY Times. Here are some highlights.
Brantley on Rylance's performance as Olivia: "(His Olivia) is, hands down, my favorite of all the Shakespeare performances I’ve had the chance to review. I have met her three times, once at the Globe in London in 2002, and then twice when she came to the Belasco Theater on Broadway, and on each occasion she left me in a state of contented tears."
And on what Rylance brought to the interview:
"...within the shabby folders and envelopes Mr. Rylance carried was a blueprint for an indelible performance: postcards of paintings of Elizabethan women; loose pages of notes from the production’s director, Tim Carroll, and its pronunciation coach, Giles Block; a long quotation from Francis Bacon about “the innocent and sweet play of children, which hide themselves to the end they may be found”; and a work book itemizing facts and fancies that might be extrapolated from Shakespeare’s words about the Countess Olivia. What wasn’t on paper were the shadows that would be unexpectedly cast upon the character by subsequent events in Mr. Rylance’s life."
And on how he prepares for rehearsals:
“I like to do all this work before, which to my mind is like turning the soil in a garden,” he said, so that when he begins rehearsals, “the soil is all very turned, it’s all bouncing around in my psyche.”
There's LOTS more, and it's all fascinating. Enjoy!