Theatre Quotes

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

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Acting

Don't use your conscious past, use your creative imagination to create a past that belongs to your character. I don't want you to be stuck with your own life. It's too little.

Stella Adler Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Playwriting

Don't write stage directions. If it is not apparent what the character is trying to accomplish by saying the line, tell us how the character said it or whether or not she moved to the couch isn't going to aid the case.

David Mamet The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Fundraising

Donors don't give to institutions. They invest in ideas and people in whom they believe.

G.T. Smith http://www.museummarketingtips.com/quotes/giving.html
General, Playwriting

Drama - what literature does at night.

George Jean Nathan
Playwriting

Drama assumes an order. If only so that it might have -- by disrupting that order -- a way of surprising.

Vaclav Havel
Playwriting

Drama is based on the Mistake. I think someone is my friend when he really is my enemy, that I am free to marry a woman when in fact she is my mother, that this person is a chambermaid when it is a young nobleman in disguise, that this well-dressed young man is rich when he is really a penniless adventurer, or that if I do this such and such a result will follow when in fact it results in something very different. All good drama has two movements, first the making of the mistake, then the discovery that it was a mistake.

W.H. Auden
Playwriting

Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.

Alfred Hitchcock
Playwriting

Drama should not present new stories but new relationships.

Frederick Hessel The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Set Design

Eugene Lee is a set designer who's famously said that he hates scenery. The reason it's such a joy to work with him is he's never designing the scenery, he's designing the room in which theater is going to take place. It makes for a much more vibrant conversation about what we're going to work on together. [Oskar Eustis , artistic director of the Public Theater, Boston]

Oskar Eustis http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2007/01/21/the_joy_of_sets
Acting

Every now and then, when you're on stage, you hear the best sound a player can hear. It's a sound you can't get in movies or in television. It is the sound of a wonderful, deep silence that means you've hit them where they live.

Shelley Winters

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