Nice Fish
A.R.T. Season
January 17, 2016 - February 7, 2016
“unexpected and refreshing, profound and touching”
-Minnesota Monthly
By Mark Rylance & Louis Jenkins
Drawn from the words of Louis Jenkins
Directed by Claire van Kampen
Starring Kayli Carter, Bob Davis, Louis Jenkins, Jim Lichtscheidl, & Mark Rylance

On a lake in frozen Minnesota, the ice is beginning to creak and groan. It’s the end of the fishing season, and two men are out on the ice one last time, angling for answers to life’s larger questions. A play woven together from the acclaimed prose poems of Louis Jenkins, Nice Fish reflects nature with a wry surreality. As Jenkins writes, they “are after something big, something down there that is pure need, something that, had it the wherewithal, would swallow them whole.”

@americanrep  #NiceFishART


There is no guarantee that standing room will be available for sold-out performances however, if it becomes available a limited number of standing room tickets may be sold in person for select shows on the day of each show at 12 noon. The number of standing room tickets will not be known in advance of the ticket services office opening at 12PM. There may not be any standing room tickets sold for the final weekend. Please call our Ticket Services office with any ticket related questions at 617.547.8300. Hours are: Tuesday-Sunday, Noon-5PM.


Nice Fish Audience Reviews: 

Nice Fish Audience Testimonials

Creative team
Playwright Mark Rylance
Poet Louis Jenkins
Director Claire van Kampen
Scenic Designer Todd Rosenthal
Costume Designer Ilona Somogyi
Lighting Designer Japhy Weideman
Sound Designer Scott W. Edwards
Composer Claire van Kampen
Casting Jim Carnahan, CSA
Production Stage Manager Evangeline Rose Whitlock
Flo Kayli Carter
The DNR Man Bob Davis
Wayne Louis Jenkins
Erik Jim Lichtscheidl
Ron Mark Rylance
Additional staff
Assistant Stage Manager Katie Ailinger
Associate Lighting Designer

Jax Messenger

Production Assistant

Jake Stepansky

Here the world is a frozen lake in Minnesota towards the end of winter. Two friends, Erik (Jim Lichtscheidl) and Ron (Mark Rylance), have come together supposedly for an ice fishing expedition on the last day of the season. More

If the homespun humor and quirky philosophizing that comes to you live from Lake Woebegone via A Prairie Home Companion warms you up on a cold winter's night, then NICE FISH is your cup of cocoa. More

Set on a lake at the end of ice-fishing season, Nice Fish is a reflection of its location and two friends who seek answers to life's philosophical questions as they pass time waiting to catch something big.  More

The great actors challenge themselves, and Mark Rylance, the winner of multiple Tony and Olivier Awards and currently up for an Oscar for his supporting role in “Bridge of Spies,” has decided that the right challenge at this time of his life is musing about the meaning of life on the last day of the ice fishing season on a frozen Minnesota lake. More

Playwright and actor Mark Rylance has turned the work of Minnesota-based poet Louis Jenkins into a 95-minute presentation at the A.R.T. in Nice FishMore

I fell hook, line, and sinker for Mark Rylance as a befuddled, would-be fisherman catching meaning in a frozen world. More

Fishing – at least for those of us who aren’t Bassmasters – often has little to do with the actual catching of fish. More

A work of ART can be a prose poem, as illustrated by their current production, “Nice Fish”, a collaborative work of Louis Jenkins (whose conversational poems are acted out) and actor Mark Rylance (who twice delivered them in Tony-winning acceptance speeches). More

A collaboration between actor/director Mark Rylance and Minnesota poet Louis JenkinsNice Fish has just one stage set: out on the ice. More

“Nice Fish,” the unassumingly charming play now onstage at the American Repertory Theater, is tastefully hewn from the folksy prose poetry of Minnesota writer Louis Jenkins, whose kitchen-table ruminations about life in the upper Midwest must fit in just perfectly when he makes his periodic appearances on “A Prairie Home Companion.” More


Press Releases

American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) will present Open Captioned and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performances for the Deaf and hard of hearing, and Audio Described performances for blind and low-vision audience members for its production of Nice Fish, playing from January 17 through February 7 at the Loeb Drama Center.
The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, under the leadership of Artistic Director Diane Paulus and Executive Director Diane Quinn, is pleased to present the new American play Nice Fish, conceived, written, and adapted by Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins, and directed by Claire van Kampen.

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Ticket prices

Tickets from $25

Run time

95 minutes with no intermission


64 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets: 617.547.8300

Administrative Office: 617.495.2668


High-res image:
High-res image:
Venue Map

Need to know

This production contains loud noises and flashing lights. 

Please plan to arrive early. Latecomers and re-admittance will be seated at the discretion of House Management. In particular, patrons seated in rows BB-HH will not be able to be sat in their seats after the start of the show.

Age Appropriateness

Recommended for grades 9 and up.

Though couched in a familiar real-life setting, the play's heightened, imagistic language and mythological undertones make this a surreal theater experience appropriate for experienced and first time theatergoing teens alike. 

ASL Interpreted

Feb. 2, 7:30PM & Feb. 6 at 2PM 

Audio Described

Feb. 4, 7:30PM & Feb. 7, 2PM


 Open Captioned

Jan. 28, 7:30PM & Jan. 31, 2PM



Assistive Listening Devices
Large Print Programs

Post-performance discussions with the cast and creative team will follow matinee performances on: 

Jan. 23, Jan. 27, Jan. 30, Feb. 3, Feb. 6