Theatre Quotes

Words to the Wise
Quotations from a wide range of theatrical perspectives

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Acting

When you want to put something into your part that is not in the play, you must ask the author--or some other author--to lead up to the interpolation for you. Never forget that the effect of a line may depend not on its delivery, but on something said earlier in the play, either by somebody else or by yourself, and that if you change it, it may be necessary to change the whole first act as well.

George Bernard Shaw Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting

When you're a young man, Macbeth is a character part. When you're older, it's a straight part.

Laurence Olivier Theatre Arts May 58
Acting, Shakespeare

When you're a young man, Macbeth is a character part. When you're older, it's a straight part.

Olivier Laurence Laurence Olivier
Acting

When you're doing a play and you're afraid of a scene, that's the scene you should embrace, because that's the scene that will tell you something about the play.

Raul Esparza NY Times, 11/26/06
Musical Theatre

Wherever it came from, the musical came with its hair mussed and with an innocent, indolent, irreverent look on its bright, bland face.

Walter Kerr http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/walter_kerr.html
Playwriting

White male playwrights' works continue to dominate production slates. Sometimes it seems easier for them to have the texts of their driver's licenses produced than for the female or non-white playwright to have her best play produced. The reality is, they are more often given that all-important opportunity to fail than the women's play or ethnic play.

Velina Hasu Houston http://www.pubinfo.vcu.edu/artweb/playwriting/quotes.html
Playwriting

Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory.

Tennessee Williams
Costumes

Why don't I just give you some money, then you can buy whatever you want to wear on stage. You obviously want a shopper, and I am merely a designer. [said to an uncooperative actress during a costume fitting]

Nan Cibula-Jenkins The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Playwriting

Writing a play, you start with less, so more is demanded of you. It's as if you have to not only write a symphony, but invent the instruments as well.

David Ives http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/david_ives.html
Acting

You ask my advice about acting? Speak clearly, don't bump into the furniture and if you must have motivation, think of your pay packet on Friday.

Noel Coward www.musicals101.com/noelquot.htm

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