- Newyork Event -
Our speaker David Staller defies easy categorization, like all interesting people. Staller’s much adored and justly acclaimed godmother, the actress Hermione Gingold (“Ah yes, I remember it well!”) had introduced David to the work of Bernard Shaw when David was very young and had encouraged his interest in his plays and writings across the years. They together even assembled a core group who met in her sitting room on Sunday afternoons to read through these far ranging, provocative and original works, while David was still a teen.
Fast forward to David’s own career as an actor. While acting in a New York production of Shaw’s inflammatory early work, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, David was delighted to encounter audience members who were discovering the play anew and who waited after the performance to ask if the play had been updated to embrace current events and points of view (assuming it must have)! Shaw’s prescient, provocative 1895 piece still glistened with relevance and resonated with people.
Considering the rather unsettled state of the world, David gathered friends around him perhaps somewhat quixotically initially but with clear visionary determination to create a company devoted to presenting plays that, though written in the past, spoke powerfully to the present. The primary guiding spirit was Shaw, a headstrong humanitarian who fought to expand our understanding of and commitment to human rights and freedom of speech. Harkening back to his godmother’s original inspiration, as a tribute to her, the company was named Gingold Theatrical Group– it’s purpose to present comedies that inspire peaceful discussion and activism.
Thirteen years later the company continues to grow with new programming each year, including the current Heartbreak Housebeing staged off Broadway. With monthly readings of Shaw’s oeuvre by noted actors, GTG remains the only company to have presented performances of every one of Shaw’s plays.
Their work now includes full productions, developing new plays, creating educational programs, offering acting classes, leading discussion groups, debates and lectures. They have even created a haven of research with extremely rare books and documents for actors, directors, professors, and those blessed few who are simply curious. They operate as both a hub and as a ‘lab’ for constructive dialogue and purposeful awareness.
David will take us through his own journey of cultivating and chiseling his passion and then creating a practical, compelling organizational vehicle for it. And in examining that, we will also engage in a lively examination of how art is still arguably the most powerful tool of communication to bring people together in a constructive and hopeful way. And in that light, what makes Shaw’s works tick, and why do we need him more than ever?
“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” GBS
Our Speaker: David Staller
David Stalleris the founding artistic director of New York's Gingold Theatrical Group, now in its 13th year. GTG presents the monthly Project Shaw, the annual Shaw New York festival, which includes a fully staged off-Broadway production, and several other Shaw-related events in and around New York City. These include scholastic partnerships with the Regis school and the Broome Street Academy. GTG’s new play development programs are also overseen by Staller.
David may just be the only person to have directed performances of all of Shaw's 65 plays. He has otherwise acted in three Broadway plays, more than 50 off-Broadway plays, acted in London at the National, and has directed and produced theatrical events around the world.
In his remote youth he was a dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, a cellist in the Rostropovich master class, a staff script writer for Turner Entertainment (and continues to write for several film and television production companies), has performed several times at Carnegie Hall as a soloist, is an adjunct professor at the New York University at Stony Brook teaching Shaw as an extension of their Ethics and Humanities programs, and is a frequent speaker on the international stage about human rights, free speech, and all things Shaw.
The Tasting: The Enigma and Enchantment of Echezeaux
Our wine adviser, Charles Curtis MWwill be back with us, presenting the joys of Echezeaux.
Echezeaux is one of Burgundy’s most exciting Grands Crus. At around 37 hectares (opinions differ as to its exact size) it is also one of the largest. It has the added fascination of being subdivided into 11 separate lieux-dits, though these are rarely mentioned on the label.
Echézeaux embodies the very soul of Burgundy in all its glorious contradictions. As a Grand Cru, it produces some of the most enticing and engaging wines. It is located between the Clos de Vougeot, Musigny, and Vosne-Romanée “The Pearl of the Côte”—prime real estate indeed. However, there are some who would dispute the grand cru status of this prestigious site, which ballooned over the years from three and a half hectares to over ten times that size. Does it live up to its reputation? Is it really worth the fuss? We shall taste through genuinely alluring and worthy examples of this vineyard in an effort to resolve the question, or enjoy ourselves trying, and we shall relish even more diverse and mature expressions of wine-making from this illustrious terroirover dinner!
The Dinner: The Brilliance of Bar Boulud/Boulud Sud
In the private space, the Chefs will once more parlay their enchanting mixture of Mediterranean culinary influences, with marvelously original dishes that embrace and enhance our Burgundian vinous beauties. Each time, we have been thrilled by our evenings here, and the combination of the venue, and superb wine team and the imaginative Chefs, representing Daniel Boulud’s famed prowess, will conspire together to give us another marvelous experience.