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ACTING
  Displaying page 1 of 4    Next Page >> 
[ Also see Action Actors Cinema Drama Life Man Movies Occupations Opera Oratory Plays Public Shakespeare Stage Theatre World ]

Who rant by note, and through the gamut rage; in songs and airs express their martial fire; combat in trills, and in a fugue expire.
      - Joseph Addison

My only regret in the theatre is that I could never sit out front and watch me.
      - John Barrymore

Farce follow'd Comedy, and reach'd her prime.
  In ever-laughing Foote's fantastic time;
    Mad wag! who pardon'd none, nor spared the best,
      And turn'd some very serious things to jest.
        Nor church nor state escaped his public sneers,
          Arms nor the gown, priests, lawyers, volunteers;
            "Alas, poor Yorick!" now forever mute!
              Whoever loves a laugh must sigh for Foote.
                We smile, perforce, when histrionic scenes
                  Ape the swoln dialogue of kings and queens,
                    When "Chrononhotonthelogos must die,"
                      And Arthur struts in mimic majesty.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
        Hints from Horace (l. 329)

And what the actor could effect,
  The scholar could presage.
      - Thomas Campbell

The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays that part.
      - Cervantes (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)

As good as a play.
      - attributed to Charles II,
        while listening to a debate on Lord Ross's Divorce Bill

To see Kean act was like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Johnson told Garrick that he and his profession were mutually indebted to each other. "Your profession," said the doctor, "has made you rich; and you have made your profession respectable."
      - Charles Caleb Colton

But as for all the rest,
  There's hardly one (I may say none) who stands the Artist's test.
    The Artist is a rare, rare breed. There were but two, forsooth,
      In all me time (the stage's prime!) and The Other One was Booth.
      - Edmund Vance Cooke,
        The Other One was Booth

The actor is in, the capacity of a steward to every living muse, and of an executor to every departed one: the poet digs up the ore; he sifts it from the dross, refines and purifies it for the mint; the actor sets the stamp upon it, and makes it, current in the world.
      - Richard Cumberland, Bishop of Peterborough (1)

I think I love and reverence all arts equally, only putting my own just above the others; because in it I recognize the union and culmination of my own. To me it seems as if when God conceived the world, that was Poetry; He formed it, and that was Sculpture; He colored it, and that was Painting; He peopled it with living beings, and that was the grand, divine, eternal Drama.
      - Charlotte Cushman

Victor Hugo makes one of his heroines--an actress--say, "My art endows me with a searching eye, a knowledge of the soul and the soul's workings; and, spite of all your skill, I read to the depths." This is a truth more or less powerful, as one is more or less gifted by the good God.
      - Charlotte Cushman

The concealment of art by the actor is as great a mark of genius as it is in the painter.
      - Francois Delsarte

See, how these rascals use me! They will not let my play run; and yet they steal my thunder.
      - John Dennis, Biographia Britiannica
         (vol. V, p. 103)

The stage is a supplement to the pulpit, where virtue, according to Plato's sublime idea, moves our love and affection when made visible to the eye.
      - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

Even kings but play; and when their part is done, some other, worse or better, mounts the throne.
      - John Dryden

Remember that you are but an actor, acting whatever part the Master, has ordained. It may be short or it may be long. If he wishes you to represent a poor man, do so heartily; if a cripple, or a magistrate, or a private man, in each case act your part with honor.
      - Epictetus

Like hungry guests, a sitting audience looks;
  Plays are like suppers; poets are the cooks.
    The founder's you: the table is the place:
      The carvers we: the prologue is the grace.
        Each act, a course, each scene, a different dish,
          Though we're in Lent, I doubt you're still for flesh.
            Satire's the sauce, high-season'd, sharp and rough.
              Kind masks and beaux, I hope you're pepperproof?
                Wit is the wine; but 'tis so scarce the true
                  Poets, like vintners, balderdash and brew.
                    Your surly scenes, where rant and bloodshed join.
                      Are butcher's meat, a battle's sirloin:
                        Your scenes of love, so flowing, soft and chaste,
                          Are water-gruel without salt or taste.
      - George Farquhar,
        The Inconstant; or, The Way to Win Him
         (prologue)

Prologues precede the piece in mournful verse,
  As undertakers walk before the hearse.
      - David Garrick, Apprentice (prologue)

Prologues like compliments are loss of time;
  'Tis penning bows and making legs in rhyme.
      - David Garrick,
        Prologue to Crisp's Tragedy of Virginia

An actor should take lessons from a painter and a sculptor.
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Few rash of any modern nation have a proper sense of an aesthetical whole; they praise and blame by parts; they are charmed by passages. And who has greater reason to rejoice in this than actors, since the stage is ever but a patched and piecemeal matter?
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There is that smaller world which is the stage, and that larger stage which is the world.
      - Isaac Goldberg

There is one way by which a strolling player may be ever secure of success; that is, in our theatrical way of expressing it, to make a great deal of the character. To speak and act as in common life is not playing, nor is it what people come to see; natural speaking, like sweet wine, runs glibly over the palate and scarcely leaves any taste behind it; but being high in a part resembles vinegar, which grates upon the taste, and one feels it while he is drinking.
      - Oliver Goldsmith

On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting
  'Twas only that when he was off, he was acting.
      - Oliver Goldsmith, Retaliation (l. 101)


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