Acting naturally : the magic in great performances

featuring Foster Hirsch in conversation with author David Thomson

Jul 26, 2023
5:30 PM | Bar opens
6:30 PM | Program
7:30 PM | Dinner
skylight gallery
Open to Coffee House, Salmagundi members, and their guests
Eventbrite RSVP required
Program is FREE to attend
You will have the option of RSVP-ing for the event alone, or for both the event and dinner. A la carte dinner is paid separately (card only).
For any questions, please email Brittney at

About the Event

Join the Coffee House Club for an entertaining evening with Foster Hirsch in conversation with author David Thomson about his most recent book, Acting NaturallyAs always, the conviviality will continue over dinner after the program.

Can’t make it? Attendees also have the option to attend online via Zoom; no RSVP required. If you’re Salmagundi member, look out for your version of our weekly newsletter for details to attend via Zoom.

About the Book

From the celebrated film critic and author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film comes a fascinating look at some of the cinema’s finest actors and how they approach their craft.

Meryl Streep, Marlon Brando, Anthony Hopkins, Carey Mulligan. When we watch these remarkable actors in a performance, we see only Sophie, Stanley Kowalski, Hannibal Lecter, or Cassie from Promising Young Woman. How are they able to transform our world in this way? How and why do they do what they do?

In Acting Naturally, David Thomson sheds light on the actors who have shaped the film industry. He shrewdly analyzes these stars—among them, James Dean, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Louise Brooks, Riz Ahmed, Sir Laurence Olivier, Viola Davis, and Jean Seberg—revealing how a sly smile, an extra-long pause, even a small gesture of the hand can draw in an audience. And he takes us behind the scenes to examine casting and all the other moments leading up to “Action!”

Through intimate anecdote, humor, and the insight born of a lifetime watching and analyzing film, Thomson explores the real reasons why we go to the movies and looks at how they influence our lives. This book is not only necessary reading for an insider’s view of the industry but also a surprising investigation of the relationship between acting and living.

Cover of "Acting Naturally: The Magic in Great Performances" by David Thomson, Author of "The New Biographical Dictionary of Film" features caricatures of Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Marlon Brando, Meryl Streep, and Don Gummer.

About the Author

David Thomson is the author of more than 25 books, including How to Watch a MovieThe Whole Equation, and biographies of Orson Welles and David O. Selznick.


Ticketed guests are welcome to stay for dinner by indicating so in their Eventbrite RSVP.

There will be an a la carte menu to choose from with a $5 per glass Coffee House wine special. You can pay for your meal with a card or your membership account (no cash).