Continuing the countdown to Damian’s return to stage next week (!) with The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, let’s take a visit to his penultimate play, The Misanthrope. 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.
In case you missed it, we talked about Damian’s drama school experience last week here.
Damian graduates from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1993. Ken Rea, Damian’s drama teacher at Guildhall, describes Damian arriving at drama school “an articulate, well-mannered young man with a bit of a polite façade,” and leaving with “the complete raw vulnerability that really grabs you as an audience.”
As soon as he graduates, Damian starts off at Birmingham Rep — where Laurence Olivier also started his career in 1926 — with two plays, namely Rope and Romeo and Juliet in 1993 followed by Moliere’s School for Wives at the Almeida Theatre in London in 1994.