quotations about theatre
I am entirely convinced that the drama renounces its chief privilege and glory when it waives its claim to be a popular art, and is content to address itself to coteries, however "high-browed."
WILLIAM ARCHER, Play-making: A Manual of Craftsmanship
But theatre is also a public event, a spectacle or a show, attempting to please or amaze the audience by a display of exceptional stage achievements, that is, special performances. In that sense, like sporting events or the circus, theatre serves what I shall call the performance function: it satisfies our natural desire to achieve or witness something extraordinary.
JEAN ALTER, A Sociosemiotic Theory of Theatre
In short, there is a pestilent congregation of influences fatal to drama, which has actually succumbed to them long ago, though there may be certain nervous twitchings in the dead limbs.
WILLIAM ARCHER, attributed, A Literary Manual of Foreign Quotations, Ancient and Modern
There are those who go to the theatre as they would go to a brothel.
ANTONIN ARTAUD, Collected Works
Most of the people dishing out judgment have no working experience of the theatre, have not written a professional play, a sketch, or even a joke; have never worked in a theatre, taken an acting class, or published any extended piece of work. They are creative virgins; everything they know about theatre is book-learned and second-hand.
JOHN LAHR, "Questions for John Lahr", The New Yorker, January 23, 2009
I mean there's a certain finality about a movie, when it's done it's done -- that raised eyebrow in that moment will always be that raised eyebrow. Whereas a play only lives as a blueprint for a performance on any given night. There's a reason you can eat popcorn and watch a movie and you can't do that in the theatre. Theatre you have to lean in, you have to tune your ear to the stage and participate.
TRACY LETTS, The Telegraph, January 31, 2014
The theater itself is so archaic and old fashioned, that it doesn't really matter to me whether it's on Avenue D or at the Helen Hayes Theater. What's the difference? It's still a very nostalgic form. Also, it means you're knowingly walking into a room where there's actors. I feel it's very embarrassing. Because, you know, they're right there. You always think like, they can see you, and I think it's mortifying, frankly, and I hate to sit near the front, where you feel they actually might see you. It's too ... it's too live.
FRAN LEBOWITZ, interview, Index Magazine, 1997
The theatre is an attack on mankind carried on by magic: to victimize an audience every night, to make them laugh and cry and suffer and miss their trains. Of course actors regard audiences as enemies, to be deceived, drugged, incarcerated, stupefied. This is partly because the audience is also a court against which there is no appeal.
IRIS MURDOCH, The Sea, the Sea
No theater could sanely flourish until there was an umbilical connection between what was happening on the stage and what was happening in the world.
KENNETH TYNAN, "Critic Kenneth Tynan Has Mellowed But Is Still England's Stingiest Gadfly", New York Times, January 9, 1966
I have never regarded any theater as much more than the conclusion to a dinner or the prelude to a supper.
MAX BEERBOHM, attributed, 20,000 Quips & Quotes
Theatres are curious places, magician's trick-boxes where the golden memories of dramatic triumphs linger like nostalgic ghosts, and where the unexplainable, the fantastic, the tragic, the comic and the absurd are routine occurrences on and off the stage. Murders, mayhem, political intrigue, lucrative business, secret assignations, and of course, dinner.
E. A. BUCCHIANERI, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
I thought we had outgrown the idea of theatre as a mystic rite born of secret communion between author, director, actors and an empty auditorium.
KENNETH TYNAN, letter to George Devine, March 10, 1964
A good many inconveniences attend playgoing in any large city, but the greatest of them is usually the play itself.
KENNETH TYNAN, New York Herald Tribune, February 17, 1957
A theater requires two good producers: one to produce the play, and the other to produce the cash.
EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes
Theatre is a concentrate of life as normal. Theatre is a purified version of real life, an extraction, an essence of human behaviour that is stranger and more tragic and more perfect than everything that is ordinary about me and you.
ELEANOR CATTON, The Rehearsal
Many in the audience consider leaving.
If anyone leaves, let them leave.
The theatre is not a prison.
If anyone coughs, cough also.
The Theatre is not a sickbed.
We minister to the audience.
We revere the pains of the audience
LEM DOOLITTLE, The Entertainment
By increasing the size of the keyhole, today's playwrights are in danger of doing away with the door.
PETER USTINOV, Christian Science Monitor, 1962
The theatre is certainly a place for learning about the brevity of human glory: oh all those wonderful glittering absolutely vanished pantomimes.
IRIS MURDOCH, The Sea, the Sea
I think that's just the dichotomy of the theater, who funds and who comes to watch.
ANNA DEAVERE SMITH, interview, A.V. Club, January 13, 2012
Theatre is a collective act of Doublethink: We know those people on stage aren't the people they're saying they are ... yet, at the same time, our hearts are breaking for the people they are pretending to be.
DUNCAN MACMILLAN, "A new vision of Big Brother opens in Adelaide", The Advertiser, May 12, 2017