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Theatriquotes - Quotes from the Theatre
When you stand on the stage you must have a sense that you are addressing the whole world, and that what you say is so important the whole world must listen.
STELLA ADLER

An actor has to burn inside with an outer ease.
MICHAEL CHEKHOV

Nothing so distinguishes great acting -- in any style, in any historical period -- than the feeling that the actor has the potential to 'go off' at any moment, and to unleash an explosion -- a flood of lava, that will be totally uncontrolled and uncontrollable. Great Acting always dances with danger!
ROBERT COHEN

Theatre exists only because it is overwhelming, because its acting is astonishing. Where a theatre and its acting are merely 'good,' merely 'correct,' merely 'in the proper style,' theatre dies a slow death.
ROBERT COHEN

The problems of acting do not require that actors stop thinking, but that they find out what to think about.
ROBERT COHEN

I will accept anything in the theatre . . . provided it amuses or moves me. But if it does neither, I want to go home.
NOEL COWARD

Acting should be bigger than life. Scripts should be bigger than life. It should all be bigger than life.
BETTE DAVIS

Without wonder and insight, acting is just a trade. With it, it becomes creation.
BETTE DAVIS

Acting is half shame, half glory. Shame at exhibiting yourself, glory when you can forget yourself.
JOHN GIELGUD

An actress can only play a woman. I'm an actor, I can play anything.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG,

If you are to do justice to [the great roles], you must fly up to them -- rather than dragging them down to you -- by expanding your range of knowledge and strengthening your imagination. Your imagination must become as real to you as your memories and feelings. What you take into yourself about psychology, politics, sociology, history and so on, will allow you to reach places in yourself you didn't know existed. No line, no image, no thought can be left general. Each must be specific and personal. Your work is not complete until this is so.
HAROLD GUSKIN

Honesty isn't enough for me. That becomes very boring. If you can convince people what you're doing is real and it's also bigger than life -- that's exciting.
GENE HACKMAN

More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic.
UTA HAGEN

When actors are talking, they are servants of the dramatist. It is what they can show the audience when they are not talking that reveals the fine actor.
CEDRIC HARDWICKE

Emotional release by itself, no matter how "real," "honest," etc. the emotion may be, is never enough to create a character...such release has no artistic form.
RICHARD HORNBY

If you really do want to be an actor who can satisfy himself and his audience, you need to be vulnerable. [You must] reach the emotional and intellectual level of ability where you can go out stark naked, emotionally, in front of an audience.
JACK LEMON

Actors ought to be larger than life. You come across quite enough ordinary, nondescript people in daily life and I don't see why you should be subjected to them on the stage too.
NINON DE LENCLOS

In 'real life' the mother begging for her child's life, the criminal begging for a pardon, the atoning lover pleading for one last chance -- these people give no attention whatever to their own state, and all attention to the state of that person from whom they require their object. This outward-directedness brings the actor in 'real life' to a state of magnificent responsiveness and makes his/her progress thrilling to watch. On the stage, similarly, it is the progress of the outward-directed Actor, who behaves with no regards to his/her personal state, but with all regard for the responses of his antagonists, which thrills the viewers.
DAVID MAMET

Find in yourself those human things which are universal.
SANFORD MEISNER

An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words.
SANFORD MEISNER

Every little moment has a meaning all its own.
SANFORD MEISNER

The actor should be able to create the universe in the palm of his hand.
LAURENCE OLIVIER

The art of acting is about moving an audience, not about moving the actor.
LAURENCE OLIVIER

The real actor has a direct line to the collective heart.
SAM RAYBURN

Acting is not being emotional, but being able to express emotion.
KATE REID

Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly.
ROSALIND RUSSELL

Theatre is a safe place to do the unsafe things that need to be done. When it's not a safe place, it's abusive to actors and audiences alike. When its safety is used to protect cowards masquerading as heroes, it's a boring travesty. An actor who is truly heroic reveals the divine that passes through him, that aspect of himself that he does not own and cannot control. The control and the artistry of the heroic actor is in service to his soul. Act from the depth of your feeling, your imagination. Act for celebration, for search, for grieving, for worship, to express that desolate sensation of wandering through the howling wilderness. Don't worry about Art. Do these things and it will be Art.
JOHN PATRICK SHANLEY

An actor is looking for conflict. Conflict is what creates drama. We are taught to avoid trouble [so] actors don't realize they must go looking for it. Plays are written about...the extraordinary, the unusual, the climaxes. The more conflict actors find, the more interesting the performance.
MICHAEL SHURTLEFF

An actor must make his needs (goals, wants, objectives) so strong that he is willing to interfere with the other actor in order to get what he needs. Interfering means getting in their way so that what you want is stronger than what they want.
MICHAEL SHURTLEFF

Everything an actor does is based on the characters internal NEED. Nothing is divorced from the desire and the objective of the character.
CONSTANTIN STANISLAVSKI

When we are on stage, we are in the here and now.
CONSTANTIN STANISLAVSKI

All action on the stage must have an inner justification, be logical, coherent, and real.
CONSTANTIN STANISLAVSKI

The actor must believe in everything that takes place on the stage - and most of all - in what he himself is doing - and one can only believe in the truth.
CONSTANTIN STANISLAVSKI

Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art.
CONSTANTIN STANISLAVSKI

What is important to me is not the truth outside myself, but the truth within myself.
CONSTANTIN STANISLAVSKI

What does in really mean to be truthful on stage? Does it mean that you conduct yourself as you do in ordinary life? Not at all. Truthfulness in those terms would be sheer triviality. There is the the same difference between artistic and inartistic truth as exists between a painting and a photograph: the latter produces everything, the former only what is essential; to put the essential on canvas requires the talent of a painter.
CONSTANTIN STANISLAVSKI

I think theater ought to be theatrical ... you know, shuffling the pack in different ways so that it's -- there's always some kind of ambush involved in the experience. You're being ambushed by an unexpected word, or by an elephant falling out of the cupboard, whatever it is.
TOM STOPPARD

Work for the actor lies essentially in two areas: the ability to consistently create reality and the ability to express that reality.
LEE STRASBERG

You are the spokesman for your character, you put on his case. Are you going to win or lose? There'll be no drama if you look like a loser at the outset.
CLIVE SWIFT

Effective actors burrow deep, they unravel the string until they have found the core - the very essence of the character. When choices are based on these discoveries, moments and scenes explode with truthful human emotion that grab the watcher by the throat and won't let go.
K E WEBER

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
OSCAR WILDE

I love acting. It is so much more real than life.
OSCAR WILDE