Fanfare: Renowned actor Mark Rylance joins commemoration of the Battle of Homestead
There were only 100 tickets available, not one of them left up for grabs, and a 24-karat roster of bold names that took a jaunt out to Munhall on June 30 to join Academy and Tony Award-winning actor, playwright and activist Mark Rylance for an event commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Battle of Homestead.
“It has a lot of resonance with me,” he said. “And it resonates with the problems of the world. … I think it’s a good thing to look back at the mistakes and to have hope that things can get better. And they can get better. If we’re paying attention.”
It was easy to pick him out in the crowd; all you had to do was follow the swarm and flashing camera lights. Which Rylance took in stride, thoughtfully fielding questions pertaining to how in the world a renowned veteran of London’s Globe Theatre—not to mention, one who was knighted by the queen—became “obsessed” with a bloody labor dispute between the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers and Carnegie Steel in 1892.
“I became very concerned about this conflict of democracy and republicanism, which offers some kind of equality and fairness to citizens…. That somehow things will be shared and things will be equal, and each person will be valued in the same way. And on the other hand, capitalism, liberal capitalism particularly, which has created great wonders in the world and yet it doesn’t deliver equally. It tries to, but it doesn’t.”
Inspiration for the play he and Peter Reder have in the works.
Battle of Homestead Foundation president John Haer, Heinz History Center president Andy Masich and Rivers of Steel CEO Augie Carlino joined the likes of United Steelworkers rep Steffi Domike, Rick Sebak, David Conrad, Patrick Jordan, Mark Fallon, Carnegie Museums president Jo Ellen Parker, Richard Rauh, Homestead Mayor Betty Esper and West Homestead Mayor John Dindak in the shadow of the Bost Building on Eighth Avenue, which served as headquarters of the AAISW.
The party also served as a warm up to the “Mark Rylance & Friends: Shakespeare & The Battle of Homestead” fundraiser July 6, (tickets have already sold out) during which he and local musicians/actors will perform his favorite Shakespearean speeches.