Like many young women, Juliet Rylance, an English actor, imagined her wedding long before she identified her groom. “It was quite elaborate,” she said the other day. “It started with a very early dawn ritual at the Globe theatre.” (The Globe’s founding artistic director, the Shakespearean actor Mark Rylance, is Juliet’s stepfather.) “And then going over to Temple Church”—the twelfth-century church associated with London’s Inns of Court—“and getting married in the church,” she went on. “And then having a party in Middle Temple Hall. And then getting everybody in a boat, somehow, and sailing up to Oxford and staying in a barn, with lots of lights and candles, and everyone dancing. Camping out, fires. For a week.”
In the event, Rylance’s wedding was rather less theatrical: she and Christian Camargo, also an actor, were wed in November of 2008, at City Hall in New York. (Both are now appearing as part of the Bridge Project at BAM, in “As You Like It” and “The Tempest,” directed by Sam Mendes.) The other week, while sitting on a couch in their snug, well-curated apartment in Harlem, they explained that their courtship lasted a few months or thirteen years, depending on how you look at it. In 1997, during the Globe’s first season, Camargo appeared in an all-male production of “Henry V.” “I was the Dauphin, and then I came back as Isabelle, the French queen,” Camargo said. “I got to meet the real Queen of England dressed as the Queen of France. She said, ‘Oh, very nice dress, very nice dress.’ With the Queen, you are not allowed to speak, but if she asks you a question you are allowed to respond. I was like, ‘Really nice dress’—is that a question? And that is how I met Juliet—not in the dress but at the Globe.”
“I was eighteen, and he was twenty-six,” Rylance, who has short blond hair and a throaty voice, said. “I remember having a crush on him for about three days, and then he just became goofy old Christian.”
“I lasted three days!” Camargo, who is tall and slender, with floppy dark hair, said.
Rylance and Camargo reconnected in London in March of 2008. “He said, ‘If you are going to be in New York, let me know, because I am there a lot,’ ” Rylance said. “So I called and said, ‘I am going to be in New York on May 2nd.’ ”
Camargo, who lived on the West Coast, moved into gear. “So I called up a friend who has this amazing apartment down on Jane Street, and she happened to be out of town,” he recalled. “It was not a shag pad. But Juliet loves it down in the West Village.”
“We went to dinner at Pastis,” Rylance said. “And we spent the whole weekend together.”
That summer, Rylance was in London, appearing in “Romeo and Juliet” at Middle Temple Hall, while Camargo was appearing on Broadway in “All My Sons.” “He called and said, ‘I got this apartment, come and stay for a month,’ ” Rylance said. “So I came, and at the end of the month he proposed.” She squeezed Camargo’s arm. “You actually proposed about three different times until you got it right,” she said. “We were having dinner at Gennaro’s, and you said, ‘Obviously, if you are going to stay, you are going to need to work, so you will need a green card, so shall we get married?’ And I said, ‘I am not getting married for a green card.’ So you went quiet for a bit, and said, ‘This is the only way I am ever going to get married, so just say yes.’ ”
“I said, ‘O.K., I will consider it, but only if you actually propose,’ ” Rylance said. “So about a week later he rolled me up a tinfoil ring.”
“That didn’t go over so well,” Camargo said.
“That was better,” Rylance said. “And then, finally, he called my dad—my real dad, in London—who flew over with my grandmother’s engagement ring.”
“I can’t remember how I gave it to you,” Camargo said.
“You kind of proposed and then flung it across the couch,” Rylance said.
They got married on the closing night of “All My Sons,” and at the after-party two of Camargo’s co-stars, John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest, sang a wedding song. (Another co-star, Katie Holmes, supplied them with a waffle iron and matching pairs of red long johns.) “She wanted the big carriage and the horse and the four hundred friends and the big party, and she got this,” Camargo said. “I realize the marriage is more important than the wedding,” Rylance said.
In the roles of Rosalind and Orlando, in “As You Like It,” the couple undergo a comically complicated courtship: Rosalind is pretending to be a boy named Ganymede for much of the time she is onstage; only after she reëmerges, dressed as a bride, can she and Orlando marry. “It is such a mirror of what we were going through—getting married, and is it the right thing, and leaping in head first,” Rylance said. “And the thing that Rosalind says to Orlando: I am going to be a nightmare, and I am going to cry when you smile, and I am going to be jumping up and down when you want to sleep, and can you really handle me? That whole question, I think, I have asked you many times.”
“Ganymede really annoys me,” Camargo admitted, with a fond look at Rylance. “You just want to smack him. I can’t wait until she comes back on as Rosalind at the end. I think, There’s my wife, and I love it. I love it when you come back on in that dress.” ♦