Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey made a surprise appearance during an Oxford University lecture about cancel culture and was rewarded for his performance of a passionate, five-minute speech from William Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens.
Author Douglas Murray headlined the lecture, speaking of the importance of free speech and paralleling The Bard’s words with our modern society.
He then introduced Spacey as “someone I’m very proud to call a friend,” and the actor strode into the room not in costume but in character.
The play centers on the title character, a nobleman who gives away his money to his friends only to have them shun him when he runs out. Spacey had index cards as a backup but apparently didn’t need them as he delivered the passionate speech, at times walking through the assembled crowd.
At its conclusion, he strode away from the audience and out of the room timed to thunder the passage’s powerful ending, “I am sick of this false world, and will love nought!”
The performance was thought to be his first since being acquitted of sexual assault charges in a U.K. courtroom, and came days after it was revealed the London premiere of his film Control was canceled by the theater owner.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.