I Am Shakespeare
By Mark Rylance
I Am Shakespeare is Mark Rylance's first play: a fascinating, witty and characteristically exuberant dramatic exploration of the Shakespeare authorship debate.
Is it possible that the son of an illiterate tradesman, from a small market town in Warwickshire, could have written the greatest dramatic works the world has ever seen? It's a question that has puzzled scholars, theatre practitioners and theatregoers for many years. The philosopher, Francis Bacon; the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere; and Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke: all of them have been put forward as the real authors of the plays. But why would they hide behind an anonymous actor? Who was the real Bard of Stratford? Why should we care?
Mark Rylance is one of a number of leading actors who seriously question the idea that William Shakespeare was the man behind the thirty-seven plays that have moved, inspired and amazed generations. First performed at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2007, Rylance's provocative play introduces us to four candidates and their respective claims - whilst asking fundamental questions about what makes a genius, and why it all matters anyway.