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Theatre

collaborative form of performing and fine art
(Redirected from Theatres)
All the world's a stage / And all the men and women merely players / They have their exits and their entrances / And one man in his time plays many parts ... ~ William Shakespeare
Hostility to the theatre is as old as the theatre itself. Plato banished the theatre from his ideal republic. Church fathers from Tertullian to Augustine denounced it. Our colonial ancestors did their best to keep it out of America, and when it arrived, they greeted it with the kind of demonstration they usually reserved for British tax collectors. The Stamp Act riots of 1765 in New York were followed in 1766 by a riot against the attempt of a company of traveling players to open a theatre. In 1783 a rock-flinging crowd stormed into the pit of a newly opened theatre in Philadelphia. During the century that followed, as the theatre gradually won a grudging acceptance in the United States, pulpit and press continued to resound with denunciation, not simply of the kind of plays produced or of the acting, but of the very existence of theatres. ~ Edmund S. Morgan

Theatre (Greek "theatron"), enjoys the distinction of two spellings: in British English, "theatre" and in American English, "theater". There is no technical distinction between the meanings of the two spellings, however most theatre artists prefer the English spelling because it creates a historical nod to the ancient Greek term theatron. Some also use the American spelling to designate a theatre building and the English term to reference the art itself, as in the "art of theatre." Theatre is that branch of the performing arts concerned with the creation of stories or narratives for (or with) an audience using combinations of acting, speech, gesture, music, dance, object manipulation, sound and spectacle — indeed, any one or more elements of the other performing arts. In addition to standard narrative dialogue style, theatre takes such forms as opera, musicals, ballet, mime, kabuki, classical Indian dance, Chinese opera, mummers' plays, and pantomime.

QuotesEdit

  • A play is fiction - and fiction is fact distilled into truth.
    • Edward Albee, reported in James Beasley Simpson (1998). Simpson's contemporary quotations: The Most Notable Quotes Since 1950. Houghton Mifflin, p. 398. ISBN 0395430852.
  • If you want to help the American theater, don't be an actress, be an audience.
  • Any beings who are not devoid of passion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of passion, focus with even more passion on things inspiring passion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of aversion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of aversion, focus with even more aversion on things inspiring aversion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of delusion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of delusion, focus with even more delusion on things inspiring delusion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Thus the actor — himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless — with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter.
  • If you have a message, call western union.
    • The earliest known print attribution is to Moss Hart in Van Wert (Ohio) Times Bulletin (26 August 1954) as cited in Fred Shapiro, The Yale Book of Quotations (2006). Widely attributed to Samuel Goldwyn, but denied by his biographer, A. Scott Berg, in Goldwyn: A Biography (1998).
  • We’re all misfits, I guess, in the theater. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here. We’d be out building things, selling things, making money, writing letters to the editor, and paying our taxes with the long form. And on that long form all the numbers in all the columns would add up right.
  • Say what you like, there is something wonderful about live theater—about any kind of live theater. Professional or amateur, city or boondocks, it makes no difference. The theater turns us into better people, at least for a moment, each time the curtain rises and the houselights dim.
  • Hostility to the theatre is as old as the theatre itself. Plato banished the theatre from his ideal republic. Church fathers from Tertullian to Augustine denounced it. Our colonial ancestors did their best to keep it out of America, and when it arrived, they greeted it with the kind of demonstration they usually reserved for British tax collectors. The Stamp Act riots of 1765 in New York were followed in 1766 by a riot against the attempt of a company of traveling players to open a theatre. In 1783 a rock-flinging crowd stormed into the pit of a newly opened theatre in Philadelphia. During the century that followed, as the theatre gradually won a grudging acceptance in the United States, pulpit and press continued to resound with denunciation, not simply of the kind of plays produced or of the acting, but of the very existence of theatres.
    Although these diatribes have been the constant accompaniment of theatrical performances-at least until the present century-most of us associate them with Puritanism. And not without reason. The longest most bitter, and most effective attacks on the theatre came from English Puritans, or at least from Englishmen living in the age of Puritanism. Beginning with a burst of books and pamphlets about 1579, the literature of denunciation reached its culmination in William Prynne's Histrio-mastrix in 1633. Prynne's work, a learned encyclopedia of invective, totaling more than a thousand pages, was culled from two thousand years of writings against the theatre, seasoned by Prynne's own tedious, repetitious, but often forceful arguments.
    Prynne lost his ears for his labors, because the king thought the book reflected on the royal taste for theatrical amusements; but Prynne has his way in 1642, when the Long Parliament closed the English theatres. As long as Puritans ran the government, the theatres stayed closed and arguments over them subsided. Playwrights preferred writing plays to defending them, and throughout history, the champions of the theatre have been notably less articulate than its enemies. When the king was restored in 1660, so was the theatre, and the attacks on it resumed, but somehow with less zest. The fin-de-siecle Histrio-mastix was written by Jeremy Collier, a pallid, polite, almost effete opponent, who strove unsuccessfully to match the wit and style of the plays he attacked. The assault never again gathered the force it had developed under the Puritans.
    The theatre thus met with the most intense hostility in England during the immediately after the age of the great English dramatists: the age of Marlowe, Johnson, and Shakespeare. Is this a coincidence?
  • Acting is merely the art of keeping a large number of people from coughing.
    • Ralph Richardson, reported in Ashton Applewhite; Tripp Evans, Andrew Frothingham (2003). And I Quote: The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker. Macmillan, p. 283. ISBN 0312307446.
  • The theater is a great equalizer: it is the only place where the poor can look down on the rich.
  • A playwright is a lay preacher peddling the ideas of his time in popular form.
  • We [Christians] renounce all your spectacles, as strongly as we renounce the matters originating them, which we know were conceived of superstition, when we give up the very things which are the basis of their representations. Among us nothing is ever said, or seen, or heard, which has anything in common with the madness of the circus, the immodesty of the theatre, the atrocities of the arena, the useless exercises of the wrestling-ground.
    • Tertullian, Apologeticus pro Christianis, Chapter 38
  • Know your lines and don't bump into the furniture.
    • Spencer Tracy, reported in Ashton Applewhite; Tripp Evans, Andrew Frothingham (2003). And I Quote: The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker. Macmillan, p. 283. ISBN 0312307446.
  • 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) - reported in Colin Jarman (1993). The Book of Poisonous Quotes. McGraw-Hill Professional, p. 104. ISBN 0809236818.
  • MARIA: Long live theater...What’s theater?
    BERISH: When you do something without doing it, when you say something without saying it, while thinking that you did say, and you did do something—anything—that’s theater.
  • 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.
    • Quoted in "Tennessee Williams" in Profiles (1990) by Kenneth Tynan (first published as a magazine article in February 1956)

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