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I think possibly the first film that has music as its leading character.
– Peter Shaffer
I think plays, like books, are endemic. They grow out of the soil of the writer and the place he’s writing about. I think, you just can’t move them about, you know.
Passion, you see, can be destroyed by a doctor. It cannot be created.
Our function as playwrights to some extent is to make audiences see with their ears, because films make us see with our eyes much better.
And in fact, I think one of the best guides to telling you who you are, and I think children use it all the time for this purpose, is fantasy.
I was an accomplice in my own frustration.
The rhetoric is the key to the character. It’s the verbal music of the piece.
I really believe that studying organization, even in the form of studying detective story organization, is very, very valuable for a playwright, a budding playwright.
If London is a watercolor, New York is an oil painting.
Rehearsing a play is making the word flesh. Publishing a play is reversing the process.
You never quite know what’s going to strike your imagination, or something that won’t going to leave you alone, not going to leave alone, and this was one for me.
I made, over the years in Cambridge, several very good American friends, and America appeared to me, a land of promise in every sense of that word, a land of freedom from the inhibitions and restrictions that I felt in England.
We… our war began September the 3rd 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany, and thereafter the great state of danger in England at that time, with the bombings, necessitated the evacuation of children.
The conquistadors and their followers were very rough people, and they were fixated on gold and silver. They were oblivious to the astonishing achievements of the Inca civilisation.
Black Comedy is a farce that is played in the dark, as you know, with the lights full on. It’s the Chinese convention of reversing light and dark, and exactly where anybody is at any given moment is the play.
In London, ‘Equus’ caused a sensation because it displayed cruelty to horses; in New York, because it allegedly displayed cruelty to psychiatrists.
I think I did have fantasies about being an actor. In fact, I know I did.
Everything we feel is made of Time. All the beauties of life are shaped by it.
It’s an extraordinary thing about Mozart is that you never tire of him… he never bores me, and he doesn’t… not only bore me, that’s too strong a word.
Things rust, you know, like the heart. My cardiologist said, ‘It’s a pump; use it – that’s the sole advice I’ve got to give you.’ It’s the same in playwriting. Don’t theorise about it. Do it.
Watching Italian opera, all those male sopranos screeching, stupid fat couples rolling their eyes about. That’s not love, it’s just rubbish.
I discover what I mean as I write. That can be both terrifically exciting and very dangerous, because when you look at your words later, you wonder, ‘Did I really mean that, or am I just making verbal patterns?’
But the first published thing I did was a detective story, detective novel, and I did that on my own.
Art and literature are my surrogate religions.
I think people nowadays do tend to blame their parents for everything.
Tragedy, for me, is not a conflict between right and wrong, but between two different kinds of right.