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[ Also see Action Actors Cinema Drama Life Man Movies Occupations Opera Oratory Plays Public Shakespeare Stage Theatre World ]

Everybody has his own theatre, in which he is manager, actor, prompter, playwright, sceneshifter, boxkeepeer, doorkeeper, all in one, and audience into the bargain.
      - A.W. Hare and J.C. Hare, Guesses at Truth

They wear the livery of other men's fortunes; their very thoughts are not their own.
      - William Hazlitt (1)

To-day kings, to-marrow beggars, it is only when they are themselves that they are nothing.
      - William Hazlitt (1)

It's very hard! Oh, Dick, my boy,
  It's very hard one can't enjoy
    A little private spouting;
      But sure as Lear or Hamlet lives,
        Up comes our master, Bounce! and gives
          The tragic Muse a routing.
      - Thomas Hood, The Stage-Struck Hero

And Tragedy should blush as much to stoop
  To the low mimic follies of a farce,
    As a grave matron would to dance with girls.
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus),
        Of the Art of Poetry

Players, sir! I look upon them as no better than creatures set upon tables and joint-stools to make faces and produce laughter, like dancing dogs.--But, sir, you will allow, that some players are better than others?--Yes, sir; as some dogs dance better than others.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

The drama's laws, the drama's patrons give.
  For we that live to please, must please to live.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        a prologue spoken by Mr. Garrick on opening Drury Lane Theatre

In really goad acting we should be able to believe that what we hear and see is of our own imagining; it should seem to us as a charming dream.
      - Joseph Joubert

It is with some violence to the imagination that we conceive of an actor belonging to the relations of private life, so closely do we identify these persons in our mind with the characters which they assume upon the stage.
      - Charles Lamb (used pseudonym Elia)

Who teach the mind its proper face to scan,
  And hold the faithful mirror up to man.
      - Robert Lloyd, The Actor (l. 265)

This many-headed monster.
      - Philip Massinger, Roman Actor
         (act III, sc. 4)

Let gorgeous Tragedy, in sceptred pall, come sweeping by.
      - John Milton

Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experience.
      - Paul Newman

She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B.
      - Dorothy Rothchild Parker (Mrs. Alan Campbell),
        referring to Katherine Hepburn's performance in the 1933 play The Lake

All the world practices the art of acting.
      - Petronius (Caius Petronius Arbiter)

This is the Jew that Shakespeare drew.
      - attributed to Alexander Pope,
        when Macklin was performing Shylock, Feb. 14, 1741

A long, exact, and serious comedy;
  In every scene some moral let it teach,
    And, if it can, at once both please and preach.
      - Alexander Pope,
        Epistle to Miss Blount--With the Works of Voiture
         (l. 22)

There still remains to mortify a wit
  The many-headed monster of the pit.
      - Alexander Pope, Horace
         (ep. I, bk. II, l. 30)

To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
  To raise the genius, and to mend the heart;
    To make mankind, in conscious virtue bold,
      Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold--
        For this the tragic Muse first trod the stage.
      - Alexander Pope, Prologue to Addison's Cato
         (l. 1)

Your scene precariously subsists too long,
  On French translation and Italian song.
    Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage;
      Be justly warm'd with your own native rage.
      - Alexander Pope, Prologue to Addison's Cato
         (l. 42)

Always act the part--and you can become whatever you wish to become!
      - Max Reinhardt

Acting is merely the art of keeping a large group of people from coughing.
      - Ralph Richardson

It is their province to make the public weep and smile, tremble and resent, and to light all the passions of the human breast in their enthusiastic audiences.
      - George Augustus Henry Sala

Tom Goodwin was an actor-man,
  Old Drury's pride and boast,
    In all the light and spritely parts,
      Especially the ghost.
      - John Godfrey Saxe, The Ghost Player

The play bill which is said to have announced the tragedy of Hamlet, the character of the Prince of Denmark being left out.
      - Sir Walter Scott, The Talisman (prologue),
        part of the Tales of the Crusaders

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