I drew a quick portrait of British Bafta-winning actress Rebecca Hall with a fine point biro about five years ago, which she signed for me at a screening of THE TOWN at London’s West End Odeon. For this more detailed one of Rebecca as Viola, I used the same pen, but a gazillion more lines. It was in the daze before my current 4B regime. In late 2010, she put her blossoming film career on hold to return to the stage for her father’s anniversary revival of TWELTH NIGHT at the National Theatre. It was Sir Peter Hall’s fourth production of the Shakespearean comedy and Rebecca’s debut at the National, which her father previously ran for 15 years from 1973 to 1988, succeeding the founding artistic director Sir Laurence Olivier. Naturally pleased to see his daughter back on the boards in one of his plays, he said, “If you want to have good theatre you need Hollywood movies because they pay, theatre doesn’t.” Shakespeare casted boy actors to play girls dressed as boys in love with boys. Sir Peter cast his daughter in the same way, “with mysterious and alluring results,” wrote Warwick Thompson in his Bloomberg review.”…a lady who decides to pass for a lad, and who then causes a storm of erotic triangulations.”
Rebecca signed this one for me at the stage door on a fresh February evening. It may have even been the month’s 12th night…maybe not. I think it was a Wednesday, like today,so what better reason to post it.
Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies. It was performed by an all-male cast in ‘original practice’, with the set, costumes, music and dances all inspired by the original staging of Shakespeare’s plays in the Elizabethan era at the Globe. In repertory with Richard III, both productions transferred to the Apollo Theatre in November 2012 in November 2012 until February the following year, and then transferred again to Broadway.
Paul Chahidi plays the scene stealing, witty, imperious maid Maria in Twlefth Night, in tandem with the brilliant Mark Rylance as his “mistress” Olivia.
He has to don six layers of women’s clothing, porcelain makeup and a ‘helmet’ hair piece, for the gender bending performance.
In his Broadway debut Paul secured his first Tony nomination this week for the role. He was also nominated for the Olivier in 2013.
He is currently in James Graham’s new play Privacy at the Donmar until the end of May 2014, where I met the charming actor after Thursday’s matinee and he loved the sketch. Which he happily signed. Good luck for the Tony’s!
Richard Wilson played Malvolio in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Twelfth Night in 2010, a role which dragged him some way out of the shadow of the nation’s favourite misanthrope Victor Meldrew in the hugely successful sitcom One Foot in the Grave. Virgin territory, playing his first Shakespearean part and donning the yellow stockings to play the puritan steward duped into erotic humiliation.
It transferred to the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End and Richard signed for me in January 2010 at the stage door, well, more the public pathway on St Martin’s Lane since the stage door is inaccessible.
I met Mark Rylance tonight who is performing Richard III and Twelfth Night in repertory. He leads an all male cast – both brilliant plays. My drawings of the rest of the cast are here.
He slipped down to the stage door to have a sneaky ciggie, so I got his siggy and had a great discussion with him about playwriting. He’s just finished writing “Nice Fish” which will premiere in Minneapolis in April this year.