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Theater Quotes

The theater, which is in no thing, but makes use of everything -- gestures, sounds, words, screams, light, darkness -- rediscovers itself at precisely the point where the mind requires a language to express its manifestations. To break through language in order to touch life is to create or recreate the theatre.

Author: Antonin Artaud (1896-1948)

Profession: French Theater Producer, Actor, Theorist

Theater of cruelty means a theater difficult and cruel for myself first of all. And, on the level of performance, it is not the cruelty we can exercise upon each other by hacking at each other's bodies, carving up our personal anatomies, or, like Assyrian emperors, sending parcels of human ears, noses, or neatly detached nostrils through the mail, but the much more terrible and necessary cruelty which things can exercise against us. We are not free. And the sky can still fall on our heads. And the theater has been created to teach us that first of all.

Author: Antonin Artaud (1896-1948)

Profession: French Theater Producer, Actor, Theorist

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.

Author: W. H. Auden (1907-1973)

Profession: Anglo-American Poet

The theatre is a gross art, built in sweeps and over-emphasis. Compromise is its second name.

Author: Enid Bagnold (1889-1981)

Profession: British Novelist, Playwright

It's one of the tragic ironies of the theatre that only one man in it can count on steady work -- the night watchman.

Author: Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968)

Profession: American Actress

I submit all my plays to the National Theatre for rejection. To assure myself I am seeing clearly.

Author: Howard Barker

Profession:

We need a type of theatre which not only releases the feelings, insights and impulses possible within the particular historical field of human relations in which the action takes place, but employs and encourages those thoughts and feelings which help transform the field itself.

Author: Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)

Profession: German Dramatist, Poet

Theatergoing is a communal act, movie going a solitary one.

Author: Robert Brustein

Profession:

The primary function of a theater is not to please itself, or even to please its audience. It is to serve talent.

Author: Robert Brustein

Profession:

For my part, I confess I seldom listen to the players: one has so much to do, in looking about and finding out one's acquaintance, that, really, one has no time to mind the stage. One merely comes to meet one's friends, and show that one's alive.

Author: Fanny Burney (1752-1840)

Profession: British Writer, Diarist

The stage is life, music, beautiful girls, legs, breasts, not talk or intellectualism or dried-up academics.

Author: Harold Clurman

Profession:

I just love, I love, I love movies.

Author: Laura Dern (1967)

Profession: American Actress

The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled.

Author: Denis Diderot (1713-1784)

Profession: French Philosopher

I had learned to have a perfect nausea for the theatre: the continual repetition of the same words and the same gestures, night after night, and the caprices, the way of looking at life, and the entire rigmarole disgusted me.

Author: Isadora Duncan (1878-1927)

Profession: American Dancer

To save the theatre, the theatre must be destroyed, the actors and actresses must all die of the plague. They poison the air, they make art impossible. It is not drama that they play, but pieces for the theatre. We should return to the Greeks, play in the open air; the drama dies of stalls and boxes and evening dress, and people who come to digest their dinner.

Author: Eleanor Duse

Profession: