How Does He Do That … ?

It was very nice to see actor friends Raye Birk and Bob Davis, from the Guthrie with Mark Rylance in Nice Fish at St. Ann’s warehouse in New York.

You know the old chestnut about scientists once proving that bumble bees couldn’t fly?

Well from a reductionist world-view perspective Mark Rylance is to acting as a bumble bee is to flight. In other words, on paper, from an engineering point of view, he shouldn’t fly …

Mark Rylance

It may seem ungenerous to say it, but although his face shows character, knowledge, wisdom even, he is in the classical sense, as the saying goes, “No oil painting”. Don’t get me wrong, he knows how to be attractive, but isn’t it the form amongst Oscar winners of both genders an improbably high level of good looks? And vocally … Rylance has a trained voice and an expert technique, but it’s not, as one critic said of Eleanora Duse, “like listening to a rose petal”. Off stage he appears taller than on.

But he does. The man flies.

There is a centered sensitivity about his work … an oblique observational lens … a human understanding of the conditions … a quotidian magic … It’s kind of hard to describe, so those words will just have to do …

Nice Fish is a storytelling piece structured around the prose poems of Minnesota poet, Louis Jenkins. The production is full of invention and humor, and, it appears to be about that niche activity — ice-fishing?!?

13 thoughts on “How Does He Do That … ?

  1. Nick Hughes

    Having worked at the Globe many moons ago marketing shows and in the box office I remember Marilyn Sarrington (his go to CSM and more) describing him perfectly – ‘my alien’

  2. trollbyrm

    Oops, trying this again. He starred in the first show I ever did in NYC. It was also the best thing I ever did, the closest I have ever come to a spiritual experience doing theatre. The Times gave him a bad review.

  3. Maggie Goldthorpe

    it’s worth listening to him on Desert Island Discs archive on the BBC. He is different, very different, and compelling.

  4. Henny Russell

    I saw Mark Rylance in Le Bete on Broadway — he was astounding. My friend who was in the show told us of how every evening before the show, Mark would have a net strung up in the theatre — in the seats! And the whole cast would play volleyball … with a twist. Everyone on your side had to hit the ball before it went over the net. It fostered teamwork and being in the moment. I met him in the make-up trailer on the set of Bridge of Spies, and he could not have been nicer or more down to earth. Though I was playing a tiny part, he treated me like he treats everyone — with kindness and respect. Needless to say, I’m a huge fan!

    Hope you and Trish are happy & well.

    xx Henny


    1. Colin McPhillamy Post author

      I endorse all that, I met him for a minute or so … he connects. Didn’t know you were in Bridge of Spies – excellent. Haven’t seen it yet, looking forward…

  5. Theda Reale

    “There is a centered sensitivity about his work …
    an oblique observational lens …
    a quotidian magic … It’s kind of hard to describe, so those words will just have to do”

    Apparently NOT so hard to describe…You are such a gifted writer. That made me want to see the play. Somebody hire you to write all reviews from now on. xo

    “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come” –Victor Hugo

    Theda Reale
    House Manager
    Volunteer Coordinator
    Group Sales
    561-514-4042 x107



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