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?!?