When I'm writing a play I hear it like music. I use the same indications that a composer does for duration. There's a difference, I tell my students, between a semi-colon and a period. A difference in duration. And we have all these wonderful things, we use commas and underlining and all the wonderful punctuation things we can use in the same way a composer uses them in music. And we can indicate, as specifically as a composer, the way we want our piece to sound.
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The avant-garde theater is fun; it is free-wheeling, bold, iconoclastic, and often wildly, wildly funny. If you will approach it with childlike innocence -- putting your standard responses aside, for they do not apply -- if you will approach it on its own terms, I think you will be in for a liberating surprise. I think you may no longer be content with plays that you can't remember halfway down the block.
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The notion that women are less aesthetically profound and innovative than men--just not very important, if you know what I mean--doubtless spreads back to our beginnings as upright animals: the males hunted and killed for the family while the females stayed home in the cave and tended the strange little creatures they were giving birth to.
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The Theatre of the Absurd, in the sense that it is truly the contemporary theatre, facing as it does man's condition as it is, is the Realistic theatre of our time; and that the supposed Realistic theatre-the term used here to mean most of what is done on Broadway-in the sense that it panders to the public need for self-congratulation and reassurance and presents a false picture of ourselves to ourselves is ... really and truly The Theatre of the Absurd.
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George, who is out somewhere there in the dark, who is good to me - whom I revile, who can keep learning the games we play as quickly as I can change them. Who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy. And yes, I do wish to be happy. George and Martha: Sad, sad, sad. Whom I will not forgive for having come to rest; for having seen me and having said: 'Yes, this will do'. Who has made the hideous, the hurting, the insulting mistake of loving... me, and must be punished for it. George and Martha... Sad, sad, sad.
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I stopped acting when I was about nineteen, twenty, when I got thrown out of college. I did act for about ten years. I don't know. I suspect I'm still a reasonably good actor, but I don't really know that I want to get on the stage again ... and having to say all those boring words by me over and over again ... I don't know if I want to do that. Also, I like a certain amount of freedom of movement, and if you're acting, you're stuck in one place for a long time. Having said that, I will probably be onstage next fall.
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It is not enough to hold the line against the dark. It is your responsibility to lead into the light. People don't like the light--it reveals too much. But hand in hand with the creative artist, you can lead people into the wisdom that is known to all other animals: simply, that it is the dark we have to fear.
I think we should all live on the precipe of life, as fully and as dangerously as possible. Everyone should make the assumption that they're going through life only once. Tomorrow we die. Why not take chances, extend yourself? How awful it is when a person comes to the end of life full of regret.
The health of a nation, a society, can be determined by the art it demands. We have insisted of television and our movies that they not have anything to do with anything, that they be our never-never land; and if we demand this same function of our live theatre, what will be left of the visual-auditory arts - save the dance (in which nobody talks) and music (to which nobody listens)?
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The condition of the theater is always an accurate measure of the cultural health of a nation. A play always exists in the present tense (if it is a valuable one), and its music -- its special noise -- is always contemporary. The most valuable function of the theater as an art form is to tell us who we are, and the health of the theater is determined by how much of that we want to know.
What happens in a play is determined to a certain extent by what I thought might be interesting to have happen before I invented the characters, before they started taking over what happened, because they are three-dimensional individuals, and I cannot tell them what to do. Once I give them their identity and their nature, they start writing the play.
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.
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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 avant-garde theater is fun; it is free-swinging, bold, iconoclastic, and often wildly, wildly funny. If you will approach it with childlike innocence - putting your standard responses aside, for they do not apply - if you will approach it on its own terms, I think you will be in for a liberating surprise.
That's all that counts. People being sorry. Makes you feel better; gives you a sense of dignity, and that's all that's important; a sense of dignity. And it doesn't matter if you don't care or not, either. You got to have a sense of dignity, even if you don't care, 'cause, if you don't have that, civilization's doomed.
Careers are funny things. They begin mysteriously and, just as mysteriously, they can end; and I am at just the very beginning of what I hope will be a long and satisfying life in the theater. But, whatever happens, I am grateful to have had my novice work received so well, and so quickly.