quotations about theatre

Theatre quote

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"


Tags: Arthur Miller

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

VANESSA REDGRAVE, attributed, The Redgraves: A Family Epic


The play was a great success, but the audience was a failure.

OSCAR WILDE, attributed, Encore


Tags: Oscar Wilde

I long for the simplicity of theatre. I want lessons learned, comeuppances delivered, people sorted out, all before your bladder gets distractingly full. That's what I want. What I know is what we all know, whether we'll admit it or not: every attempt to impose the roundness of a well-made play on reality produces a disaster. Life just isn't so, nor will it be made so.

JOHN M. FORD, Casting Fortune


I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragoon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least.

EUGENE IONESCO, Notes and Counter Notes


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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


Tags: Antonin Artaud

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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Drama lies in extreme exaggeration of the feelings, an exaggeration that dislocates flat everyday reality.

EUGENE IONESCO, Notes and Counter Notes


Given technological developments in virtual reality and communications, it is not clear what, if any, purpose will be served by live theatre in the not-too-distant future. Postmodern theory sees theatre as a quaint and marginalized activity in a wired world, and ... whether live theatre even really exists anymore. Some of you may dream of seeing your name up in lights on a theatre marquee, but if you are really looking for fame and fortune shouldn't you be studying film at least, or television arts, or computers? What is it about theatre that remains compelling for you? Is it just because it's there?

MARK FORTIER, Theory Theatre and Introduction


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The theatre is a place where one has time for the problems of people to whom one would show the door if they came to one's office for a job.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, attributed, Profiles


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.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, preface, The Theater and Its Double


The history of theatre is the history of first nights.

JOHN LAHR, Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton


The theater is a humble materialist enterprise which seeks to produce riches of the imagination, not the other way around. The theater is an event, not an object. Theatre workers need not blush and conceal their desperate struggle to pay the landlords their rents. Theater without the stink of art.

CHARLES LUDLAM, The Complete Plays of Charles Ludlam


The theater is a great equalizer: it is the only place where the poor can look down on the rich.

WILL ROGERS, attributed, 20,000 Quips & Quotes


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Life is a theatre set in which there are but few practicable entrances.

VICTOR HUGO, Les Misérables


Tags: Victor Hugo

It isn't a shortage of good scripts that ails the theater; it is a shortage of producers who know a good script when they see one.

GEORGE JEAN NATHAN, attributed, 20,000 Quips & Quotes


Theatre is a powerful art form, it teaches lessons about life, society and emotion and more importantly yourself.

ANASTASIA ROBERTS, "Theatre takes student to Beijing", Wairarapa Times-Age, June 2, 2017


Theatre is a way of showing us lives far beyond our own experience; but it lets us into those stories by reflecting our own lives.

MARK SHENTON, "Theatre diversity is blossoming, even if there are a few bad apples", The Stage, May 24, 2017


It is Mystery -- the mystery any one man or woman can feel but not understand as the meaning of any event -- or accident -- in any life on earth ... [that] I want to realize in the theatre. The solution, if there ever be any, will probably have to be produced in a test tube and turn out to be discouragingly undramatic.

EUGENE O'NEILL, Eugene O'Neill: Comments on the Drama and the Theater


Tags: Eugene O'Neill