THEATRE QUOTES

I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragoon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least.
EUGENE IONESCO, Notes and Counter Notes

 

It is a hopeless endeavour to attract people to a theatre unless they can be first brought to believe that they will never get in.
CHARLES DICKENS, Nicholas Nickleby

 

It is Mystery — the mystery any one man or woman can feel but not understand as the meaning of any event — or accident — in any life on earth … [that] I want to realize in the theatre. The solution, if there ever be any, will probably have to be produced in a test tube and turn out to be discouragingly undramatic.
– EUGENE O’NEILL

 

A theatre, a literature, an artistic expression that does not speak for its own time has no relevance.
– DARIO FO, Nobel Lecture, December 7, 1997

 

When you come into the theater, you have to be willing to say, “We’re all here to undergo a communion, to find out what the hell is going on in this world.” If you’re not willing to say that, what you get is entertainment instead of art, and poor entertainment at that.
– DAVID MAMET, Three Uses of the Knife

 

It has not been definitively proved that the language of words is the best possible language. And it seems that on the stage, which is above all a space to fill and a place where something happens, the language of words may have to give way before a language of signs whose objective aspect is the one that has the most immediate impact upon us.
– ANTONIN ARTAUD, The Theatre and Its Double

 

Applause begets applause in the theatre, as laughter begets laughter and tears beget tears.
CLAYTON HAMILTON, Theory of the Theatre

 

From the start it has been the theatre’s business to entertain people … it needs no other passport than fun.
BERTOLT BRECHT, A Short Organum for the Theatre

 

Two strongly influential movements–naturalism and absurdism–have polarized western theatre, arguing respectively for a tidy global perspective of human behavior or for an idiosyncratic local vision, in which ultimately no human behavioral patterns can be abstracted. One is left to choose between existence represented as strict linear determinism or as utter randomness.
WILLIAM DEMASTES, Realism and the American Dramatic Tradition

 

I think the tragic feeling is invoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing — his sense of personal dignity.
ARTHUR MILLER, “Tragedy and the Common Man”

 

There are lots of young vital playwrights who are experimenting, and these are the plays that people who are interested in the theatre should see. They should go off Broadway. They should go to the cafe theatres and see the experiments that are being made.
EDWARD ALBEE, WNBC TV interview, Jan. 9, 1966

 

The drama is not dead but liveth, and contains the germs of better things.
WILLIAM ARCHER, About the Theatre

 

Drama lies in extreme exaggeration of the feelings, an exaggeration that dislocates flat everyday reality.
EUGENE IONESCO, Notes and Counter Notes

 

It is remarkable how virtuous and generously disposed everyone is at a play. We uniformly applaud what is right and condemn what is wrong, when it costs us nothing but the sentiment.
WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

 

From the viewpoint of analytic psychology, the theatre, aside from any aesthetic value, may be considered as an institution for the treatment of the mass complex.
CARL JUNG, Psychology of the Unconscious

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