Last modified on 12 April 2014, at 19:52

Edward Albee

I've noticed that there is not necessarily a great relationship between what the majority of critics have to say and what is actually true.

Edward Franklin Albee III (born 12 March 1928) is an American playwright , known for works including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Zoo Story, The Sandbox and The American Dream.

See also: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (film adaptation of his play)

QuotesEdit

One must let the play happen to one; one must let the mind loose to respond as it will, to receive impressions, to sense rather than know, to gather rather than immediately understand.
Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it. A good writer turns fact into truth; a bad writer will, more often than not, accomplish the opposite.
  • What I wanted to get at is the value difference between pornographic playing-cards when you're a kid, and pornographic playing-cards when you're older. It's that when you're a kid you use the cards as a substitute for a real experience, and when you're older you use real experience as a substitute for the fantasy.
    • The Zoo Story (1959).
  • Sometimes a person has to go a very long distance out of his way to come back a short distance correctly.
    • The Zoo Story (1959).
  • The gods too are fond of a joke.
    • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961)
  • You gotta have a swine to show you where the truffles are.
    • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961)
  • One must let the play happen to one; one must let the mind loose to respond as it will, to receive impressions, to sense rather than know, to gather rather than immediately understand.
    • On his play Tiny Alice, in National Observer (5 April 1965)
  • I'm not suggesting that the play is without fault; all of my plays are imperfect, I'm rather happy to say — it leaves me something to do.
    • On his play Tiny Alice, in National Observer (5 April 1965)
  • Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it. A good writer turns fact into truth; a bad writer will, more often than not, accomplish the opposite.
    • Saturday Review (4 May 1966)
  • A play is fiction — and fiction is fact distilled into truth.
    • The New York Times (18 September 1966)
  • Your source material is the people you know, not those you don't know, [but] every character is an extension of the author's own personality.
    • The New York Times (18 September 1966)
  • What people really want in the theater is fantasy involvement and not reality involvement.
    • Quote (4 June 1967)
  • American critics are like American universities. They both have dull and half-dead faculties.
    • Address to New York Cultural League (6 May 1969)
  • Q: Do you find quite a difference between the audience at large and the critics as a group?
    A: Well, one is a group of human beings, one is not.
    • "Edward Albee : An Interview", in Edward Albee : Planned Wilderness (1980) edited by Patricia De La Fuente, p. 7; a paraphrased form of this statement has often been quoted as "The difference between critics and audiences is that one is a group of humans and one is not."
  • I've noticed that there is not necessarily a great relationship between what the majority of critics have to say and what is actually true. Some of them are so busy trying to mold the public taste according to the limits of their perceptions, and others are so busy reflecting what they consider to be the public taste — that view limited again by their perception. You find very few critics who approach their job with a combination of information and enthusiasm and humility that makes for a good critic. But there is nothing wrong with critics as long as people don't pay any attention to them. I mean, nobody wants to put them out of a job and a good critic is not necessarily a dead critic. It's just that people take what a critic says as a fact rather than an opinion, and you have to know whether the opinion of the critic is informed or uninformed, intelligent of stupid — but most people don't take the trouble.
    • "Edward Albee : An Interview", in Edward Albee : Planned Wilderness (1980) edited by Patricia De La Fuente, p. 8
  • I have been both overpraised and underpraised. I assume by the time I finish writing — and I plan to go on writing until I'm 90 or gaga — it will all equal itself out... You can't involve yourself with the vicissitudes of fashion or critical response. I'm fairly confident that my work is going to be around for a while. I am pleased and reassured by the fact that a lot of younger playwrights seem to pay me some attention and gain some nourishment from what I do.
    • As quoted in Conversations with Edward Albee (1988) by Philip C. Kolin, p. 176
  • I survive almost any onslaught with a shrug, which must appear as arrogance, but really isn't because I'm not an arrogant person. When you write a play, you make a set of assumptions — that you have something to say, that you know how to say it, that its worth saying, and that maybe someone will come along for the ride. That's all. And then you go about your business, assuming you'd be the first to know if your talent has collapsed.
    I don't think I've been a commercial playwright ever. By some curious mischance, a couple of my plays managed to hit an area where commercial success was feasible. But it's wrong to think I'm a commercial playwright who has somehow ceased his proper function. I have always been the same thing — which is not a commercial playwright. I'm not after the brass ring. I very seldom get it anyway, and then it's accidental when I do. … So I write those things that interest me.
    • As quoted in Conversations with Edward Albee (1988) by Philip C. Kolin, p. 176
  • If Attila the Hun were alive today, he'd be a drama critic.
    • As quoted in Theater Week (1988); also in The Book of Poisonous Quotes (1993) edited by Colin Jarman, p. 100
  • I created myself, and I'll attack anybody I feel like.
    • Shoptalk: Conversations About Theater and Film with Twelve Writers, One Producer — and Tennessee Williams' Mother by Dennis Brown (1993), Ch. 6 : A Certain Amount of Spleen, p. 121
  • Do you know what a playwright is? A playwright is someone who lets his guts hang out on the stage.
    • Shoptalk: Conversations About Theater and Film with Twelve Writers, One Producer — and Tennessee Williams' Mother by Dennis Brown (1993), Ch. 6 : A Certain Amount of Spleen, p. 122
  • Remember one thing about democracy. We can have anything we want and at the same time, we always end up with exactly what we deserve.
    • As quoted in Unleashing Intellectual Capital (2000) by Charles Ehin, p. 99
  • The only time I'll get good reviews is if I kill myself.
    • As quoted in a review of "The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? in Broadway Yearbook 2001-2002 (2003) by Steven Suskin, p. 195

Quotes about AlbeeEdit

External linksEdit

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