Speaking of Shakespeare Link

Speaking of Shakespeare
We welcomed 2020 on Friday, January 24, at the NATIONAL ARTS CLUB, where we relished a scintillating presentation by JIM DALE, a remarkably versatile performing artist whose work has been celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic. This was our third event with Mr. Dale, who entertained us with hilarious anecdotes and memorable vignettes from one of the most extraordinary careers in the history of show business.

A few days later, on Monday, January 27, we gathered at THE PLAYERS with actor, director, producer, and author DAKIN MATTHEWS, who was riveting audiences as Judge Taylor in playwright Aaron Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher's phenomenal Broadway adaptation of novelist Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. After hearing Mr. Matthews' remarks about that remarkable drama, and discussing some of the other highlihgts of his extraordinary career, we were treated to his informative observations about three Shakespearean sonnets, which he analyzed as illustrations of the same rhetorical techniques that a brilliant playwright employed in his dramatic masterpieces.

A few weeks later, on February 26 at THE PLAYERS we conversed with two of America's most distinguished visual artists, illustrators JAMES MCMULLAN and EDWARD SOREL. This exchange, which took place in the club's stately Hampden-Booth Library, was recorded by Ed's son, Leo Sorel, and thanks to him and his colleague James Salzano we hope to make it available soon on YouTube.

Because of the Trumpidemic that followed that special occasion, we were forced to postpone several SOS offerings. Yet to be rescheduled, either as programs with in-situ audiences or as online offerings, are conversations with RON ROSENBAUM (a prolific journalist whose publications include The Shakespeare Wars), and with SCOTT NEWSTOK (an esteemed scholar who draws on "Lessons from a Renaissance Education" to explain How to Think Like Shakespeare).

Meanwhile we encourage you to revisit the online conversations we produced in lieu of in-person events, beginning with a May 26 dialogue with JAMES SHAPIRO of Columbia University. Click here to watch an NAC discussion that explored Shakespeare in a Divided America, a timely volume that the New York Times has recently identified as one of The Ten Best Books of 2020.

A few weeks later, on June 23, we arranged an afternoon session with F. MURRAY ABRAHAM, a gathering that permitted the Guild to introduce an actor who grew up in the Southwest to his admirers at Santa Fe's LENSIC PERFORMING ARTS CENTER. To watch this conversation, click here.

On August 12, we enjoyed a delightful NATIONAL ARTS CLUB exchange with actor JOHN DOUGLAS THOMPSON. He had recently portrayed the Duke of York in the New York Public Theater's WNYC audio presentation of Richard II, and that was one of the topics we addressed with him. To watch this engaging dialogue, which was promoted by both Broadway World and Thought Gallery and elicited questions from viewers around the nation, click here.

And click here to watch a resonant NAC-hosted conversation with Harvard's STEPHEN GREENBLATT that was recorded in late June but held for realease until August 19. It was a wide-ranging exchange that commenced with a discussion of the prescient op-ed that Professor Greenblatt published in the New York Times a few weeks before America's 2016 presidential election. It then focused on Tyrant, his 2018 volume about Shakespeare's insights into how corrupt authoritarians seize and maintain power. From there it proceeded to a broader consideration of the classical education a budding playwright received in grammar school, and the ways in which it equipped him to produce the masterpieces that led a fellow dramatist, Ben Jonson, to eulogize him in the 1623 First Folio as an artist who was "not of an age, but for all time." For a vivid illustration of how Professor Greenblatt's books and articles are influencing today's political discourse, see a recent Times column by Maureen Dowd.

On September 13 the Guild joined Santa Fe's LENSIC PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, for another lively dialogue with JIM DALE, a celebrated and remarkably versatile performer who garnered an Oscar nomination as lyricist for the theme song in "Georgy Girl," who won a Tony Award for his title role in "Barnum," and who holds multiple Grammy Awards for his evocative recordings of "Harry Potter." Click here to enjoy the charming anecdotes he shared with Lensic executive director Joel Aalberts and Guild president John Andrews about his brilliant career as a singer, composer, actor, director, raconteur, and narrator.

In late December, under NAC auspices, we saluted RICHARD EYRE, who oversaw Britain's National Theatre during a decade that featured such triumphs as a touring Richard III, with Sir Ian McKellen in the title role, and the global premiere of Angels in America. A young Judi Dench influenced Sir Richard's decision to become a director, and he took part in the 1999 Gielgud ceremony that paid tribute to her. Sir Richard has also enriched our lives with a number of cinematic gems, among them Iris and Notes on a Scandal, both of which starred Dame Judi, and a recent King Lear with Sir Anthony Hopkins in the title role. Click here for a riveting hour with one of our most visionary dramatic artists.

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For details about offerings that have been presented in previous seasons, click on the years that follow::
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. And for information about upcoming programs, visit our Current Events page.