Today (April 16) is a SPECIAL day. And, we celebrate it with a SPECIAL GIFT for our most favorite actor!
So… what’s SPECIAL today?
As the fans in America cannot have enough of Wolf Hall and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII these days, some lucky fans in the UK are about to have a SPECIAL treat as Damian Lewis is making a wonderful comeback to stage in the West End revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo.
Damian Lewis is headlining the play as Walter “Teach” Cole — a character that cannot be more far away from Henry VIII — along with the great John Goodman as Don Dubrow, and Tom Sturridge as Bobby. Daniel Evans, whom Damian Lewis trained together with at Guildhall School of Music and Drama is directing the play. The previews kick off this evening (April 16) at Wyndham’s Theatre and the press night is on April 27.
New York Times theatre critic Frank Rich writes in a review for a 1983 Broadway production: “‘American Buffalo” is one of the best American plays of the last decade. The story of three small-time Chicago hustlers who try and fail to steal a cache of rare coins, it has little plot and few words (or sentences) of more than one syllable. But with such terse means, Mr. Mamet created a combustible and sympathetic portrait of inarticulate American underclass dreamers – men whose ambitions to make big money through ”free enterprise” are as doomed as the buffaloes on the nickels they covet.”
So… What does Damian Lewis think about returning to stage for the first time since Martin Crimp’s adaptation of Moliere’s The Misanthrope opposite Keira Knightley in 2009?
In a recent interview with Sunday Times Culture, Damian says: “That’s awful! Six years! Theatre is my true love. I trained as an actor to be in the theatre.”
He tells Guardian that, in fact, he and director Danial Evans pulled a “minor miracle” to get the play on: “I’ve tried about three or four times in the last couple of years and things have fallen apart. With theatre, you have to plan almost a year in advance. But we got lucky – a theatre was available.”
One thing I am not sure about this last sentence is… I just don’t know who is luckier… Damian? or his fans? 🙂
The Telegraph reports, according to Damian Lewis, returning to stage is a matter of “reacquainting himself with different rhythms of being on stage. He recalls that the American writer, director and producer Larry Kasdan once told him “that being an actor on a film set was like being a sprint runner at an athletics meeting. Your 100 metres might be at four o’clock, but you’re going to get there at eight in the morning…”
I also LOVE the way Damian talks openly about his “pretty basic fear” about going back to stage! “I’m nervous just about the reality of being on stage in front of 800 people and perhaps not knowing what your next line is. It’s a pretty basic fear. I’ve canvassed opinion from actors about what makes them nervous about being on stage, and almost all of them say it’s about worrying whether the next line will come.”
Ah, and this Francesco Guidicini portrait from the Instagram Sunday Times Stories — big thanks go to JaniaJania for spotting it — attests to the fact that Damian embraces his “pretty basic fear” in his usual “effortlessly charming” manner 🙂
I remember an interview with him on YouTube from a couple of years ago, where he is asked about “the moment before stepping up to stage.” Damian goes: “It’s a sphincter tightening moment… It’s quite sweaty. And… I try to stay calm… I try to breathe… and, I try to do some Yogic breathing… just get everything as low and assented as possible. ”
Damian, do your ritual, step on the stage and BREAK A LEG!
So.. what is the SPECIAL GIFT?
You all know our beloved Knitting Witch Denise Salway and her brilliant designs varying from Queen Elizabeth to Gandolph to Elvis Presley by now — in particular, you know her “Wolf Hall in Wool” collection! Denise is such a special and talented lady — please visit her wonderful portfolio on her Flickr page and follow her @KnittingWitchUK for constant knitting updates on Twitter!
And NOW… Denise has made a very HANDSOME gift for Damian Lewis! You know she had already made a Henry for her “Wolf Hall in Wool” collection, but she wanted Damian Lewis — who is a unique talent — to have a unique Henry and so, instead of making a copy of the original Henry, Denise designed and knitted a NEW Henry for Damian Lewis.
And, we are unveiling it today — Say HI to Henry!
Isn’t he a spitting image of our Henry?
On the day Damian found out about this blog, one of the first things I told with him right after I told him about Fan Fun was Denise, her fabulous work and the special Henry she was knitting for him! Damian was intrigued and gave me his PA Michael’s contact information so I could connect Michael and Denise to decide the best way to send the gift to Damian. We believe this handsome wool Henry will very soon make it into Damian Lewis’ hands and will put a big smile on his face during these very busy and exciting times!
Now that we are just so used to Damian being the King, we just want him to be the King of Stage 🙂 We look forward to seeing him make the stage his own and rule along with John Goodman and Tom Sturridge!
BEST OF LUCK to the entire American Buffalo cast and crew!