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

I can counterfeit the deep tragedian;
  Speak and look back, and pry on every side,
    Tremble and start, at wagging of a straw,
      Intending deep suspicion.
      - William Shakespeare

Let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them.
      - William Shakespeare

The part was aptly fitted and naturally performed.
      - William Shakespeare

Come, sit down, every mother's son, and rehearse your parts.
      - William Shakespeare,
        A Midsummer Night's Dream
         (Quince at III, i)

A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,
  Which is as brief as I have known a play;
    But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
      Which makes it tedious.
      - William Shakespeare,
        A Midsummer Night's Dream
         (Philostrate at V, i)

If it be true that good wine needs no bush, 'tis true that a good play needs no epilogue.
      - William Shakespeare, As You Like It
         (Rosalind at epilogue)

Like a dull actor now,
  I have forgot my part, and I am out,
    Even to a full disgrace.
      - William Shakespeare, Coriolanus
         (Coriolanus at V, iii)

Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear? Let them be well used, for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at II, ii)

I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play,
  Have by the very cunning of the scene,
    Been struck so to the soul that presently
      They have proclaimed their malefactions;
        For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
          With most miraculous organ.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at II, ii)

Is it not monstrous that this player here,
  But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
    Could force his soul so to his own conceit
      That from her working all his visage wann'd, . . .
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at II, ii)

The play's the thing
  Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at II, ii)

What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
  That he should weep for her? What would he do.
    Had he the motive and the cue for passion
      That I have? He would drown the stage with tears. . . .
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at II, ii)

O, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly (not to speak it profanely), that neither having th' accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at III, ii)

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use it gently, for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at III, ii)

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Hamlet at III, ii)

A hit, a very palpable hit.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Osric at V, ii)

A beggary account of empty boxes. . . .
      - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
         (Romeo at V, i)

And, like a strutting player, whose conceit
  Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich
    To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
      'Twixt his stretch footing and the scaffoldage,
        Such to-be-pitied and o'er-wrested seeming
          He acts thy greatness in; . . .
      - William Shakespeare,
        The History of Troilus and Cressida
         (Ulysses at I, iii)

As in a theatre the eyes of men,
  After a well-graced actor leaves the stage,
    Are idly bent on him that enters next,
      Thinking his prattle to be tedious,
        Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes
          Did scowl on gentle Richard.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Second
         (York at V, ii)

Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian,
  Speak and look back, and pry on every side,
    Tremble and state at wagging of a straw;
      Intending deep suspicion, ghastly looks . . .
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
         (Buckingham at III, v)

Notwithstanding all that has advanced so very ingeniously upon plays and players, their profession is, like that of a painter, one of the imitative arts, whose means are pleasure, and whose end is virtue.
      - William Shenstone

Where they do agree on the stage, then unanimity is wonderful.
      - Richard Brinsley Sheridan

[The] play of limbs succeeds the play of wit.
      - Horace Smith and James Smith

A fool cannot be an actor, though an actor may act a fool's part.
      - Sophocles

Lo, where the Stage, the poor, degraded Stage,
  Holds its warped mirror to a gaping age!
      - Charles Sprague, Curiosity


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