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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TOP Damian Lewis Moments 2020: Philanthropy

There is no question that the last nine months have been different than any other for everyone. And so, for Damian, too, there was no filming, no going out in London, no theatre, no Wimbledon, no summer festival or live concert. l. But the good news is that the pandemic did not stop him from being very good at doing good.

We talked about Damian and Helen’s finest moment during the pandemic, Feed NHS, earlier here.

But then Damian wore his charity hat multiple times throughout the year for different great causes. And I think if Damian’s generous heart does not make a top moment, what else does?

So let’s start!

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TOP Damian Lewis Moments 2020: Theater of War UK – Philoctetes

Whenever I’m compelled to watch or read or listen to something out of our place and time, something “foreign”, I’m sent back to ninth grade, to when I first learned to read. No doubt I’d been deciphering the alphabet strung into words and sentences long before I turned 14, but ninth grade is the time, I think, when we really learn to read, if given the chance. To look at meaning between the lines, find the metaphors and the messages connecting one story to another to yet another and then back to ourselves.

And I’m brought back to my ninth grade teacher asking us “why do we read?” Maybe she was provoked by someone sighing too loudly at an assignment or maybe even muttering under their breath “why do we have to read this stuff?” She asked the question of us all and waited. Someone likely said “to pass this class so we can get into college” or “to write the paper, take the test, get the grade.” These answers didn’t satisfy her, so she waited and asked us again “why do we read?”

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TOP Damian Lewis Moments 2020:
Theater of War UK – Oedipus

Wow, this pandemic, amirite? Depending on where you live you may be still hunkered down, resisting social gatherings, wearing masks whenever you go out. Maybe you’re somewhere where things are fully open and things are back to normal. For most of us, though, it’s certainly a new way of life. And, it may be with us much longer than anyone hoped it’d be.

Some of us are fortunate enough to have jobs that weren’t too affected, or actually took off, due to the nationwide lock down. (once folks can no longer mill around the water cooler in the office, they seem very keen to get stuff done. I sense in some industries, like tech, for example, productivity is at a record high) Too many of us haven’t been so lucky. And what about our artists, the stories that we need to watch, the performances that entertain and sustain us? Obviously they have been affected in a major way. Those in Damian’s profession are still learning how to get their work running again.

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Damian Lewis as Philoctetes : Archetype of a Wounded Warrior

Whenever I’m compelled to watch or read or listen to something out of our place and time, something “foreign”, I’m sent back to ninth grade, to when I first learned to read. No doubt I’d been deciphering the alphabet strung into words and sentences long before I turned 14, but ninth grade is the time, I think, when we really learn to read, if given the chance. To look at meaning between the lines, find the metaphors and the messages connecting one story to another to yet another and then back to ourselves.

And I’m brought back to my ninth grade teacher asking us “why do we read?” Maybe she was provoked by someone sighing too loudly at an assignment or maybe even muttering under their breath “why do we have to read this stuff?” She asked the question of us all and waited. Someone likely said “to pass this class so we can get into college” or “to write the paper, take the test, get the grade.” These answers didn’t satisfy her, so she waited and asked us again “why do we read?”

Continue reading “Damian Lewis as Philoctetes : Archetype of a Wounded Warrior”