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Acting and the Theatre Quotes and Quotations


A good drama critic is one who perceives what is happening in the theatre of his time. A great drama critic also perceives what is not happening.
A walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.
Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experience.
An actor is a guy who, if you ain't talking about him ain't listening.
An agent is a guy who is sore because an actor gets 90% of what he makes.
Bugs Bunny - the perfect employee. Never absent. Never late. Never changes the script. Doesn't have an agent. Never asks for a percent of the profit. Doesn't ask to have his relatives on the payroll.
In music, the punctuation is absolutely strict, the bars and the rests are absolutely defined. But our punctuation cannot be quite strict because we have to relate it to the audience. In other words, we are continually changing the score.
No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.
She was good at playing abstract confusion in the same way that a midget is good at being short.
The best audience is intelligent, well-educated, and a little drunk.
The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster.
The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds come home to roost.
When the characters are really alive before their author, the latter does nothing but follow them in their action, in their words, in the situations which they suggest to him.
Working in the theatre has a lot in common with unemployment.
There are some great roles - mostly in Shakespeare's tragedies which no one can play at full strength from beginning to end. One simply hopes that one can hit the peaks as often as one has the strength.
Acting is not being emotional, but being able to express emotion.
A good actor must never be in love with anyone but himself.
Every actor in his heart believes everything bad that's printed about him.
Actors are the only honest hypocrites.
Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.
Film-making has become a kind of hysterical pregnancy.
Not to go to the theatre is like making one's toilet without a mirror.
You can't automate in the arts. Since the sixteenth century there has been no change in the number of people necessary to produce Hamlet.
When actors begin to think, it is time for a change. They are not fitted for it.
Opening night is the night before the play is ready to open.
An actor is a sculptor who carves in snow.
The unencumbered stage encourages the truth operative in everyone. The less seen, the more heard. The eye is the enemy of the ear in real drama.
The live entertainment Canadians like most is the intimate review, a collection of songs and sketches, preferably with a satirical bias.
Acting is happy agony.
With the collapse of vaudeville new talent has no place to stink.
When the audience knows you know better, it's satire, but when they think you can't do any better, it's corn.
The person who wants to make it has to sweat. There are no short cuts. And you've got to have the guts to be hated.
True tragedy may be defined as a dramatic work in which the outward failure of the principal personage is compensated for by the dignity and greatness of his character.
A fan club is a group of people who tell an actor he is not alone in the way he feels about himself.
The real actor - like any real artistj- has a direct line to the collective heart.
The best actors do not let the wheels show.
A talent for drama is not a talent for writing, but is an ability to articulate human relationships.
Many plays, certainly mine, are like blank cheques. The actors and directors put their own signatures on them.
You need three things in the theatre - the play, the actors and the audience and each must give something.
From the point of view of the playwright, then, the essence of a tragedy, or even of a serious play, is the spiritual awakening, or regeneration, of his hero.
Hamlet is the tragedy of tackling a family problem too soon after college.
A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.
The whole motivation for any performer is 'Look at me, Ma.'
If you give audiences a chance they'll do half your acting for you.
Show business is like sex. When it's wonderful, it's wonderful. But when it isn't very good, it's still all right.
All the movies used to be 'colossal'. Now they're all 'frank'. I think I liked 'colossal' better.
Satire is what closes Saturday night.
A play should give you something to think about. When I see a play and understand it the first time, then I know it can't be much good.
By increasing the size of the keyhole, today's playwrights are in danger of doing away with the door.
We do not go (to the theatre) like our ancestors, to escape from the pressure of reality, so much as to confirm our experience of it.
A play visibly represents pure existing.
I sweat. If anything comes easy to me, I mistrust it.
I sometimes wish they would swagger more now, buy bigger overcoats and wilder hats, and retain those traces of make-up that put them outside respectability and keep them rogues and vagabonds, which is what, at heart - bless 'em - they are.
Actor-manager - one to whom the part is greater than the whole.
I know it was wonderful, but I don't know how I did it.
Very few people go to the doctor when they have a cold, they go to the theatre instead.
The unique thing about Margaret Rutherford is that she can act with her chin alone. Among its many moods I especially cherish the chin commanding, the chin in doubt, and the chin at bay.
There are five stages to an actor's career: who is Herschel Bernardi? get me Herschel Bernardi; get me a Herschel Bernardi type; get me a young Herschel Bernardi; and who is Herschel Bernardi?
On stage I make love to twenty-five thousand people; then I go home alone.
In Hollywood, if you don't have happiness, you send out for it.
Long experience has taught me that in England nobody goes to the theatre unless he or she has bronchitis.
Playing Shakespeare is very tiring. You never get to sit down, unless you're a king.
Theatre is simply what cannot be expressed by any other means; a complexity of words, movements, gestures that convey a vision of the world inexpressible in any other way.
As an actor, he should be an extra in police line-ups.


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