Here’s the thing, Paul, I almost forgot you were a Paul and not, say, a Paula. Which, I’m guessing, just looking at how purely manly you actually are, is not a thing you heard very often before the Twelfth Night. But like… That’s how good your Maria was. So good I totally forgot she was being played by a man.
On a stage where it would have been easy for Mark Rylance to swallow the sun, to make all the eyes his, your performance stood tall and graceful and refused to be overlooked. That’s pretty fucking cool. Even cooler, that your performance as a woman never felt like a thin substitute for the real deal, someone affecting airs to try and put something past the audience. It felt serious, and carefully considered and about what made Maria human — with all her funny, sharp, lovely curves and angles, her needs and desires and hopes — and relatable to everyone on stage and in the audience. Even when we all knew what was really happening under that dress (shit, we’d watched you put it on!).
So thanks. For doing us ladies proud. And for making us laugh. I hope you enjoy winning the Tony of My Heart even a fraction as much as I enjoyed your performance.
Photo: Caitlin McNaney