Theatre Quotes

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

Displaying 1 - 60 of 404. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.
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Acting

7 tips to reduce stage fright: (1) Shift the focus from yourself and your fear to your true purpose: contributing something of value to your audience. (2) Stop scaring yourself with thoughts about what might go wrong. Instead, focus your attention on thoughts and images that are calming and reassuring. (3) Refuse to think thoughts that create self-doubt and low confidence. (4) Practice ways to calm and relax your mind and body, such as deep breathing, relaxation exercises, yoga, and meditation. (5) Try to limit caffeine, sugar, and alcohol as much as possible. (6) Visualize your success: Always focus on your strength and ability to handle challenging situations. (7) Give up trying to be perfect and know that it is OK to make mistakes. Keyword=stagefright

Janet Esposito

http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder/treatm...

Acting

A cat actually thinks visibly. If you watch him jump on a shelf, the wish to jump and the action of jumping are one and the same thing... It's in exactly the same way that all Brook's exercises try to train the actor. The actor is trained to become so organically related within himself, he thinks completely with his body. He becomes one sensitive, responding whole... The whole of him is one.

John Heilpern
Critics

A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.

Kenneth Tynan New York Times Magazine, Jan 9. 1966
Playwriting

A dramatic experience concerned with the mundane may inform but it cannot release; and one concerned essentially with the aesthetic politics of its creators may divert or anger, but it cannot enlighten.

David Mamet
Playwriting

A dramatist is one who believes that the pure event, an action involving human beings, is more arresting than any comment that can be made upon it.

Thornton Wilder
General, Musical Theatre

A flop is often the result of the fact that each of the talents involved, while working on the same project, may in effect have been working on a different show from all the others. If all contributors do not share the same vision of the evening, the end product will not evince the harmony of diverse elements--the seeming inevitability of book, score, and staging--of a good musical.

Ethan Mordden Not Since Carrie
Acting

A fool cannot be an actor, though an actor may act a fool's part.

Sophocles http://www.giga-usa.com/quotes/topics/acting_t003.htm
Acting

A good actor makes clear the meaning of the words. A better actor gives also the emotion of the part. The best actor adds emotion of which the character is unconscious.

Clare Eames The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Playwriting

A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation.

Ring Lardner The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Playwriting

A good play is a play which when acted upon the boards make an audience interested and pleased. A play that fails in this is a bad play.

Maurice Baring http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre
Playwriting

A good play tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad play tells us the truth about its author.

G.K. Chesterton http://www.ag.wastholm.net/category/art
Acting

A great actor is independent of the poet, because the supreme essence of feeling does not reside in prose or in verse, but in the accent with which it is delivered.

Lee Strasberg
Set Design

A ground plan is important in terms of its rigor. If your plan is soggy and weak, your production will be soggy and weak.

David Hays http://www.emerson.edu/emersontoday/index.cfm?action=3&articleID=678&editionID=45
Acting, Musical Theatre

A lot of the actresses who have had most impact in musicals have been character actresses. And character is an essential ingredient of the best shows. In Merrily We Roll Along, for instance, I got to play a character with such a marvellous span - from boozy, fat, cynical 45-year-old to an 18-year-old in love with life ... I'd rather see her [Dame Judi Dench] do a musical than anyone with 10 times the voice.

Samantha Spiro London Sunday Times Culture Magazine, 25.3.01
Acting

A lot of what acting is paying attention.

Robert Redford
General

A nation that does not support and encourage its theater is -- if not dead -- dying; just as a theater that does not capture with laughter and tears the social and historical pulse, the drama of its people, the genuine color of the spiritual and natural landscape, has no right to call itself theater; but only a place for amusement.

Federico Garcia Lorca http://www.cfa.ilstu.edu/pguithe/THE344/quotes.html
General

A nonprofessional theatre is, simply, one comprised of people who do not derive their income from it and do not spend most of their time engaged in it. There are two distinct categories: (1) nonprofessional groups that present plays with some regularity; and (2) nonprofessional groups that are organized on a one-time basis to present a play or a show for some special purpose. The former represents what is known as community theatre, and the latter falls under the heading of amateur theatre (though both types are amateur, or nonprofessional).

Stephen Langley Theatre Management & Production in America
Playwriting

A novelist may lose his readers for a few pages; a playwright never dares lose his audience for a minute.

Terence Rattigan

http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre

Acting, Playwriting

A play has two authors, the playwright and the actor.

Eric Bentley In Search of Theater
Costumes, Lighting, Set Design

A play is a painting that moves. Instead of it holding still, and you are looking at it, you hold still and it scrolls by.

Patricia Zipprodt The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

A play is a series of actions. A play is not about action, nor does it describe action. Is a fire about flames? Does it describe flames? No, a fire is flames. A play is action. Why do you think actors are called actors? And action in a play occurs when something happens that makes or permits something else to happen.

David Ball Backwards & Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays
Playwriting

A playwright is someone who lets his guts hang out on the stage.

Edward Albee http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
Playwriting

A playwright is the litmus paper of the arts. He's got to be, because if he isn't working on the same wave length as the audience, no one would know what in hell he was talking about. He is a kind of psychic journalist, even when he's great.

Arthur Miller
Set Design

A stage set should not make a pretty picture of its own. The empty stage should look formal and pleasing, but should seem to be waiting for the action to complete it; it should not hold definite significance in itself.

G. Wilson Knight The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Management

A statement of vision is the overarching purpose, the big dream, the visionary concept--something presently out of reach--so stated that it excites the imagination and chlalenges people to work for something they do not yet know how to do.

Robert Greenleaf Servant Leadership
Playwriting

A talent for drama is not a talent for writing, but is an ability to articulate human relationships.

Gore Vidal http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre
Acting

Act in your pauses.

Ellen Terry Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting

Act well your part; there all the honor lies.

Alexander Pope Essay on Man, Epistle iv, line 193
Acting

Acted drama requires surrender of one's self, sympathetic absorption in the play as it develops.

George P. Baker http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgepba199310.html
Acting

Acting expresses a part of the self otherwise hidden to the conscious mind.

Lisa M. O'Neill
Acting

Acting is a matter of giving away secrets.

Ellen Barkin
Acting

Acting is a very limited form of expression and those who take it seriously are very limited people. I take it seriously.

Judy Holliday http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/judyhollid227986.html
Acting

Acting is an everlasting search for truth.

Laurence Olivier http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
Acting

Acting is experience with something sweet behind it.

Humphrey Bogart
Acting

Acting is half shame, half glory. Shame at exhibiting yourself, glory when you can forget yourself.

John Gielgud The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Acting

Acting is merely the art of keeping a large group of people from coughing.

Ralph Richardson http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/acting
Acting

Acting is mostly about listening. If you just focus in on what the other person is saying, acting takes care of itself to quite a large extent.

Alan Rickman http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alanrickma251358.html
Acting

Acting is not a state of being ... but a state of appearing to be. You can't be eight times a week without going stark staring mad. You've got to be in control.

Noel Coward
Acting

Acting is not about dressing up. Acting is about stripping bare. The whole essence of learning lines is to forget them so you can make them sound like you thought of them that instant.

Glenda Jackson
Acting

Acting is not being emotional, but being able to express emotion.

Kate Reid http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/acting
Acting

Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly.

Rosalind Russell The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Acting

Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It's a bum's life. The principal benefit acting has afforded me is the money to pay for my psychoanalysis.

Marlon Brando
Acting

Acting is the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living. After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of four.

Katherine Hepburn http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/acting
Acting

Acting is the most personal of our crafts. The make-up of a human being - his physical, mental and emotional habits - influence his acting to a much greater extent than commonly recognized.

Lee Strasberg
Acting

Acting isn't really a creative profession. It's an interpretive one.

Paul Newman http://www.satheatre.com/quotes.htm
Acting

Acting isn't something you do. Instead of doing it, it occurs. If you're going to start with logic, you might as well give up. You can have conscious preparation, but you have unconscious results.

Lee Strasberg
Acting

Acting touches nerves you have absolutely no control over.

Alan Rickman http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alanrickma251360.html
Acting

Acting's entertainment. It's not brain surgery.

Anthony Hopkins Hello! Special Edition, 9.6.01.
Acting

Acting, in general, is something most people think they're incapable of, but they do it from morning to night. The subtlest acting I've ever seen is by ordinary people trying to show they feel something they don't, or trying to hide something. It's something everyone learns at an early age.

Marlon Brando Newsweek, 13 March 1972
Acting

Actors are the only honest hypocrites.

William Hazlitt
Acting

Actors cannot choose the manner in which they are born. Consequently, it is the one gesture in their lives completely devoid of self-consciousness.

Helen Hayes
Acting

Actors ought to be larger than life. You come across quite enough ordinary, nondescript people in daily life and I don't see why you should be subjected to them on the stage too.

Donald Sinden
Acting

Actors should be overheard, not listened to, and the audience is fifty percent of the performance.

Shirley Booth Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting

Actors work and slave and it is the color of your hair that can determine your fate in the end.

Helen Hayes
Acting, Directing

All action in theatre must have inner justification, be logical, coherent, and real.

Constantin Stanislavski
Acting

All the theories that acting is reacting to imaginary circumstances as though they are real, and directing is turning psychology into behavior, those are all stabs at something that can't be taught. All the great actors can't talk about what they do, and they don't want to begin to talk about it. They just do it.

Mike Nichols
General

All the world's a stage. Some of us just have better seats.

Unknown
General

Although one may fail to find happiness in theatrical life, one never wishes to give it up after having once tasted its fruits.

Anna Pavlova

http://en.thinkexist.com/keyword/theatrical

Acting, Directing, General

Although the theater is not life, it is composed of fragments or imitations of life, and people on both sides of the footlight have to unite to make the fragments whole and the imitations genuine.

Brooks Atksinson
Directing

An actor entering through the door, you've got nothing. But if he enters through the window, you've got a situation.

Billy Wilder Friendly Advice (book)

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