Throwback Thursday to a Lesson in Rhetoric: Damian Lewis as Antony

To be filed in the category of “This is a guy who makes you want to go back to school”, we learned and reported (on our lovely sister site damian-lewis.com) that Damian’s version of Antony’s funeral speech from Julius Caesar, for The Guardian’s video series Shakespeare Solos, was featured in a seminar on rhetoric. This wasn’t an avenue for literary criticism or drama theory, but a newsletter on effective public speaking.

How is speaking any different from writing and reading, you may wonder? Well, there are components to classical rhetoric, when dissected, can show you what makes one speech different from another. Such an analysis would reach your brain (or at least attempt to). Alternatively, we can talk about how a speech makes you feel. Granted we’re not seeing much great oratory from our current elder statesmen, so examples are few and far between. But, there was a time, wasn’t there? In our not too distant history, when a leader spoke, it did a heart good to hear, didn’t it?

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Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis on The Moment with Brian Koppelman

Note: This post was originally published on March 26, 2019.

Photo Credits: Brian Koppelman

When he’s not running a show, co-creator of Billions, Brian Koppelman hosts a podcast called The Moment. Each hour-long session is a conversation about the creative process and pivotal moments in creative careers. Koppelman talks to people in various forms and stages of their creative lives about inflection points, the moments they sensed something shifted for them in their careers. Having listened to several of these conversations in his archive, its always a treat to hear how people get to live their professional dreams, be they restaurateurs, musicians, writers or actors. Back when he first publicized the podcast, I had this twee Twitter exchange with him. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis on The Moment with Brian Koppelman”

Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis in The Misanthrope

Damianista’s note (02/15/2024): When a good friend shares this picture from Damian’s dressing room with you, you know it is time to travel back to 2009 and re-visit our guy in The Misanthrope. It is Damian’s handwriting on the mirror: I would recognize that capital “G” anywhere. And it says ““Rouse tempers, goad and lacerate, raise a whirlwind.” A little research shows that this was Kenneth Tynan’s lifelong motto, pinned above his desk at the National Theatre when he was its literary manager. ENJOY!

It was 2009 when Damian played the lead role of Alceste in Martin Crimp’s modernized version of Moliere’s 17th century comedy. After his appearance in The Misanthrope he was not seen on stage again until American Buffalo six years later. Dare we say, The Misanthrope marked a turning point for Damian, the last one where he was the nearly A-list actor playing against decidedly A-list’er Keira Knightley. NOW, of course, he is not nearly anything but a full-blown highly sought commodity on stage and screen. In this post, I’ll tell you a bit about the play, then, beg your indulgence as I wax philosophical about the extent to which the themes of the play translate to Damian’s own career trajectory.

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Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis in A Touch of Frost

Before he hit the big time in cable TV, Damian did some smaller, lesser known roles in British television. The role of Adam Weston in a feature-length episode of mystery drama Touch of Frost may not be a role that Damian is particularly proud of, given how disdainfully he spoke of it at the NY Times Talk in May 2014.

Nonetheless, I’d say the role begs remembering, if, for nothing else, to give us a picture of Damian at 25. According to Damian, roles such as this one were the few available to British actors in television in 1996. It was either Merchant-Ivory-esque period drama or stories of the struggles of the underclass left in the wake of Thatcherism, both “classes” of roles Damian would have been uniquely qualified to play, but only later. First, he had to build up a resume with things like Touch of Frost. So here’s Damian at 25, a Shakespearean trained thespian and, they ask him to get down to his skivvies. Okay, he’s still doing parts that get him into his skivvies some 20 years later, but, hey, who’s counting. As Bobby Axelrod would say:

Those who can, do.

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Throwback Thursday to London, The Goat, and Meeting Damian Lewis

Damianista’s Note: JaniaJania and I were extremely lucky to see Damian Lewis in Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? and meet with him after the performance exactly six years ago. So, on the sixth anniversary of this fabulous experience, why not join JaniaJania today on a trip back? Enjoy!

The times I can see Damian in person are few and far between. It was at Damianista’s urging, i.e. pretty much taking me by the hand and flying me out to NY, that my first “sighting” and “meeting” even happened. (I have no idea what those quotes mean or why I used them, just go with me here) I vacillate often between “I’d be fine if I never saw him in person again, good riddance to that level of stress-filled gut-wrenching fangrl angst” to “Fine, I’ll see him on stage or something, but no reason to talk to him privately, is there? Can’t we be normal people for once and just go home and not talk to him?” to “OMG, when are we going to see him again, in what circumstances, for how long, can we possibly have it go longer, and what if…etc. etc. etc.” Truthfully, I spend about equal parts brain energy on those three states of fangrl-ness. Quite similar, in fact, to the brain energy allocation of an average 17 year old girl around prom time. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday to London, The Goat, and Meeting Damian Lewis”