Happy Shakespeare Day! We are celebrating the great man’s life and influence on English language today.
If you wanna have your own personal Shakespeare party, I highly recommend you to download The Love Book App and have Damian Lewis read Sonnet 130: My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun directly to your ears! Or if you want to party with us here then let’s travel back to a special Shakespeare party kicked off by a certain Damian Lewis!
“Severn-I–lift me up–I am dying–I shall die easy–don’t be frightened–be firm, and thank God it has come!”
If there had been no Covid pandemic, they would have marked the 200th anniversary of John Keats’ death with a new production of the play Lift Me Up I am Dying in the house that Keats died – now the Keats-Shelley House in Rome. But when it was clear that a live performance would not be possible, the creator Pele Cox came up with an alternative: she would have Zoom meetings with the actors who happened to be in lockdown and then let them film themselves and bring to life a half-hour film based on the last weeks of Keats’ life. And they did.
Today marks the 202nd anniversary of John Keats’ death and we re-visit the intimate virtual performance Damian gives in Lift Me Up I am Dying.
I was there in the room when Damian and Helen read love poems to each other from The Love Book, a brilliant collection of classic and contemporary love poems that vary from Shakespeare to E.E. Cummings to Maya Angelou coming together in a book as well as in an app. It was a moving and intimate hour with a powerhouse husband and wife team reading poems, teasing each other, and sharing their dynamic chemistry with the audience. And could there be anything better to share with the fandom on World Poetry Day?
It turns out that when the festival inquired about a possible video recording of the reading in 2014, Helen and Damian said no. Damian tellsThe Sunday Times:
There will be dying, but there is no need to go into that…The sun rises in spite of everything…Everything is going to be all right.’ – Derek Mahon
Helen McCrory was a class act not only in her acting career but also in life and death. The way she chose to live, bravely, focusing on her family, work and charity rather than on her illness is a lesson for us all. Her personality and life deserve a big celebration and we are thrilled to share with you the way Damian has kept celebrating Helen all year long.
Today is Remembrance Sunday . Also known as Poppy Day in the Commonwealth countries, Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed to remember the members of their armed forces who died in the line of duty in World War I. It coincides with Veterans Day in the US that was proclaimed first as Armistice Day at the end of the Great War and that honors all men and women that served in the United States Armed Forces. Remembrance Day is observed on November 11 in most countries because the hostilities of WWI ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”, in accordance with the armistice signed that day between the representatives of Germany and the Entente. And, red poppies became a symbol of the day due to the WWI poem In Flanders Fieldsthat talks about red poppies blooming over some of the worst battlefields in Flanders.
So I thought it would be appropriate to travel back to WWI in our Throwback Thursday today. But you may ask about what Damian Lewis has to do with WWI. Well, firstly, Damian is playing a WWI soldier in Queen of the Desert but also he participated in a WWI poetry reading in 2014 as part of the centenary commemorations of the Great War.