THEATRE QUOTES

quotations about theatre

Theatre quote

Of course we all come to the theatre with baggage. The baggage of our daily lives, the baggage of our problems, the baggage of our tragedies, the baggage of being tired. It doesn't matter what age you are. But if our hearts get opened and released -- well that is what theatre can do, and does sometimes, and everyone is thankful when that happens.

VANESSA REDGRAVE, attributed, The Redgraves: A Family Epic

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The true theater, because it moves and makes use of living instruments, continues to stir up shadows where life has never ceased to grope its way.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, preface, The Theater and Its Double

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To enter a theatre for a performance is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination.

SIMON CALLOW, Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World

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One must let the play happen to one; one must let the mind loose to respond as it will, to receive impressions, to sense rather than know, to gather rather than immediately understand.

EDWARD ALBEE, National Observer, April 5, 1965

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There is only one necessary condition for the emergence of a new theatre, that the stage and auditorium should be open to the masses, should be able to contain a people and the actions of a people.

ROMAIN ROLLAND, The People's Theatre

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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

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The most effective moments in the theatre are those that appeal to basic and commonplace emotions--love of woman, love of home, love of country, love of right, anger, jealousy, revenge, ambition, lust, and treachery.

CLAYTON HAMILTON, Theory of the Theatre

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The theater-goer in conventional dramatic theater says: Yes, I've felt that way, too. That's the way I am. That's life. That's the way it will always be. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is no escape for him. That's great art -- Everything is self-evident. I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh. But the theater-goer in the epic theater says: I would never have thought that. You can't do that. That's very strange, practically unbelievable. That has to stop. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is an escape for him. That's great art -- nothing is self-evident. I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh.

BERTOLT BRECHT, On Theatre

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It is a lazy public which promotes a slothful and irresponsible theater.

EDWARD ALBEE, "Which Theater Is the Absurd One?", 1962

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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

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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"

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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

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Any play that makes an audience think out of the box, that makes connections to life and names our pain and by doing so makes our pain subject to thinking and the process of understanding, is doing something inherently political. By promoting understanding, by putting experience in context, by making connections between the normal and the rational, theatre is an act of anti-terrorism. It stimulates courage and a survival spirit. In that sense of political, there are a lot of serious plays doing their work in the world.

JOHN LAHR, "Questions for John Lahr", The New Yorker, January 23, 2009

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I think the theatre is as essential to civilization as safe, pure water.

VANESSA REDGRAVE, attributed, The Redgraves: A Family Epic

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Theatre is a mirror, a sharp reflection of society.

YASMINA REZA, The Observer, January 21, 2012

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If you want to help the American theater, don't be an actress, be an audience.

TALLULAH BANKHEAD, attributed, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

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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

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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

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Applause begets applause in the theatre, as laughter begets laughter and tears beget tears.

CLAYTON HAMILTON, Theory of the Theatre

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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

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