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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sir Ian takes on 'Sir Thomas'

I had the pleasure of hearing Ian McKellan share his thoughts last night at the Guthrie as part the theater's "Global Voices" series. (Click here for the Star Tribune's piece on the event.) In addition to having enough gravitas to be one of the foremost Shakespearean actors of the day (not to mention playing Gandalf in "Lord of the Rings" trilogy of movies), McKellan has a great sense of humor and shared a lot of fun behind-the-scenes story.

He also took questions from the audience. One of my favorites came from a fresh-faced student about to embark on her first abroad trip to London. She wanted him to recommend where she should go so that could tell people that "Sir Ian" had told her to go there. (For the record, McKellan recommended checking out old Shakespeare haunts during hours where other tourists would not impede the experience).

Of interest to lawyers, McKellan ended the evening by delighting the audience with powerful reading from a scene that Shakespeare contributed to the somewhat obscure Elizabethan play Sir Thomas More.

The University of St. Thomas School of Law has a life-sized statute of Thomas More in its grand atrium. Executed for following his conscience, More is a valuable reminder that being a lawyer involves more than being a hired gun. It really gives one much to chew upon in this age of lawyer jokes.

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