"I Am Shakespeare" is Mark Rylance's fascinating, witty and characteristically exuberant dramatic contribution to 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 author of the plays. But why would they hide behind an anonymous actor? Who was the real Bard of Stratford? 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 the main candidates and their respective claims whilst asking fundamental questions about what makes a genius, and why it all matters anyway.
Mark Rylance is one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation. He has played many of the great Shakespearean roles, both for the Royal Shakespeare Company and as Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe in London. He has won numerous awards in London and on Broadway, most famously for Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, in which he created the role of Johnny Rooster Byron.