New York is bustling with fascinating things to do, and one organization that offers much to theater enthusiasts is The Shakespeare Society, which is dedicated to fostering the works of the Bard and generating greater understanding of them. It is a non-profit group with varied activities ranging from special events to promoting interest in Shakespeare in the public schools. It also features an annual celebration in honor of the Bard in Central Park.

One event that I attended much to my pleasure and edification was the March 6, 2000, gathering at which the renowned British actor Sir Derek Jacobi was interviewed by actor-director Roger Rees on the subject of "My Life With Shakespeare." Presented in the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse, it was an occasion enlivened by wit and anecdotes. Jacobi sees Shakespeare as "the most relevant, the most contemporary" theater we have.

Jacobi told of having learned much along the way in his illustrious career and attributed aspiring "to think on stage with the speed of light" to what he gleaned from actress Maggie Smith. Rees made the ideal interviewer, aware that the focus was meant to be on Jacobi and posing incisive questions without trying to show how brilliant he could be himself. Yet precisely because of this approach his own intelligence shone through.

Such an organization is an important cultural addition to New York. For more information about the Society and how to become a member, phone 212-327-3399 or visit the organization's web site at

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