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.
It never ceases to amaze me how philanthropic both Damian and Helen are, especially when it comes to theatrical works or for children and youth organizations that help deliver curricula in education, life skills, and the creative arts. And 2019 was no different! From theatre arts and Red Nose Day to charity concerts, ice cream, and BGC/GFI Charity Day, we have it all broken down for you here. Let’s get started with an unexpected and surprising theatrical performance, Whodunnit.
This summer at London’s Park Theatre Damian participated in Whodunnit [Unrehearsed], a murder mystery play, without having rehearsed or seen a script, all in the name of charity. Can you imagine acting in front of a live audience without any direction prior to your appearance? Each performance night meant there would be a different guest performer stepping in as the Inspector with a rehearsed ensemble. This means the only direction Damian received came via a hidden earpiece, receiving instructions as the actors on stage attempt to solve a crime in real time, all the while avoiding furniture and staggering their way to crack the case at hand. What I loved about the concept of this play is that the mystery was not so much who the murderer was, but who the Inspector would be! Ticket goers had no idea which celebrity would be appearing as the Inspector each night until the start of the play. Imagine you’re in the audience and they announce Damian Lewis to the stage. That’s exactly what happened to the woman in orange in this video:
Matt Wolf, a theater critic who interviews Damian Lewis at Times Talks London in May 2014, spends quite some time talking to Damian about each and every play he has done to date at length, well, except for one: When it comes to Five Gold Rings, Wolf mentions it briefly and as more of a personal highlight than a professional one for Damian!
Matt Wolf: “One production at The Almeida called Five Gold Rings was perhaps not that successful except that it has the woman whom you ended up marrying so I would assume it was a success in that way.”
Damian laughs: “Yeah.”
Sweet! And it goes without saying that today’s walk in memory lane will be as much about Five Gold Rings as about When Damian Met Helen 😀 Continue reading “Throwback Thursday to Five Gold Rings or When Damian Met Helen :D”
Damian takes quite a long break from stage – 6 years – after he does The Misanthrope with Keira Knightley and Tara Fitzgerald at Comedy Theatre. And after three seasons of Homeland, a season of Wolf Hall, three movies, an Emmy and a Golden Globe later, in 2015, he makes a wonderful comeback to stage as Walter “Teach Cole” in David Mamet’s American Buffalo… which also goes into history as the first (and second) time I see my favorite actor on stage. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis in American Buffalo”
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?