Tag Archive: Madeline L’Engle

Friday Arts Quotes

“A play’s got to be a dramatic event, not a lyrical event. It’s not music, it’s not poetry, it’s not dance, it’s not narrative – it’s dramatic…it’s about conflict. It’s about forces coming together.”
– Romulus Linney

“When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist; Shakespeare knew how to listen to his work, and so he often wrote better than he could write; Bach composed more deeply, more truly than he knew, Rembrandt’s brush put more of the human spirit on canvas than Rembrandt could comprehend. When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens.”
– Madeleine L’Engle

“Learning to write for the theatre is learning to be a human being, because the theatre by its very nature makes you deal with other human beings.”
– David Ives

Friday Arts Quotes

Just one quote this week, but a good one.

“All children are artists, and it is an indictment of our culture that so many of them lose their creativity, their unfettered imaginations, as they grow older. But they start off without self-consciousness as they paint their purple flowers, their anatomically impossible people, their thunderous, sulphurous skies. They don’t worry that they may not be as good as Di Chirico or Bracque; they know intuitively that it is folly to make comparisons, and they go ahead and say what they want to say. What looks like a hat to a grownup may, to the child artist, be an elephant inside a boa constrictor. So what happens? Why do we lose our wonderful, racketty creativity? What corrupts us?…A lot of my adult life has been spent in trying to overcome this corruption, in unlearning the dirty devices of this world, which would dull our imaginations, cut away our creativity.” – Madeline L’Engle

Friday Arts Quotes: Opening Night Edition

It’s opening night for Holy Mo at Pacific Theatre, so in honor of that, this week’s arts quotes are all about audience – the theatrical ingredient that gets added on opening.

“The writer does want to be published; the painter urgently hopes that someone will see the finished canvas (van Gogh was denied the satisfaction of having his work bought and appreciated during his life time; no wonder the pain was more than he could bear); the composer needs his music to be heard. Art is communication, and if there is no communication it is as though the work had been still-born. The reader, viewer, listener, usually grossly underestimates his importance. If a reader cannot create a book along with the writer, the book will never come to life….The author and the reader “know” each other; they meet on the bridge of words. So there is no evading the fact that the artist yearns for “success,” becuase that means that there has been a communication of the vision: that all the struggle has not been invalid.” – Madeline L’Engle

“When you come into the theater, you have to be willing to say, “We’re all here to undergo a communion, to find out what the hell is going on in this world.” If you’re not willing to say that, what you get is entertainment instead of art, and poor entertainment at that.” -David Mamet

“You need three things in the theatre – the play, the actors & the audience – and each must give something.” – Kenneth Haigh

Friday Arts Quotes: Boxing Day Edition

This week’s Friday Arts Quotes come to you with a Christmas theme.

Charlie Brown on Directing:

“One of the first things to insure a good performance is strict attention to the director. I’ll keep my directions simple. If I point to the right, it means focus attention stage right. If I make a slashing motion across my throat it means cut the scene short. If I make a revolving motion with my hand, it means pick up the tempo. If I spread my hands apart, it means slow down. It’s the spirit of the actors that counts, the interest that they show in their director. Am I right? I said, am I right?”

- Charlie Brown, in A Charlie Brown Christmas

And let me give a tiny bit of context to this second quote: Liz is an aspiring actress who has just had her vision of what theatre is shattered by a crass director.

“I’ve always thought about the theatre like a Christmas tree, all shining and bright with beautiful ornaments. But now it seems like a Christmas tree with the tinsel all tarnished and the colored balls all fallen off and broken. That’s a corny way of saying it, but you know what I mean.”
“Sure, I know what you mean, Liz. And it’s both ways . . . Some of the ornaments fall and break and some stay clear and bright. Some of the tinsel gets tarnished and some stays shining and beautiful like the night before Christmas. Nothing’s ever all one way.You know that. It’s all mixed up and you’ve just got to find the part that’s right for you.”

- Liz & Ben in The Joys of Love by Madeline L’Engle

Friday Arts Quotes:

In this week’s edition of Friday Arts Quotes: An old favorite & a new find.

I keep a leather bound book on my night table with the word “meditations” on the front of it. Into it I copy any quote that I find particularly inspiring that I will want to look back on and meditate on when I am down. The first quote this week has been in that book since the beginning, and the second just was added this week as I was watching TV.

“What do[es it mean to be] creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint or clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter what our vocation, or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career….Our freedom to be creators is far less limited than some people would think.” – Madeline L’Engle

“But our job as artists is to press on: continue creating, because that’s who we are. Even if some critic does squash you like a bug. That’s who we are.” – Joan of Arcadia, “No Bad Guy”

Two ArtsQuotes to Start my Day

“If the work comes to the artist and says ‘Here I am, serve me.” then the job of the artist, great or small, is to serve.”
-Madeline L’Engle Walking on Water

“The few seconds before the curtain went up: she called it the Holy Time. But you don’t have to be an actor to know what the Holy Time feels like. It’s that breath you take just seconds before you become the person you are meant to become. For some people it feels like forever, and for some it’s a moment over far too fast.”

Everwood, Season 1, Episode 13 (The Price of Fame)


Feed the Lake

Back in early September, my friend Angela wrote a blog post following her attendance at Bard’s production of The Tempest. In it she talks about learning that there is no point in jealousy because when one artist succeeds we all end up winning. She said:

The problem is, I have a degree in directing and I’ve been doing it for a long time but I don’t know that I could create a work this accomplished. So for part of the performance I was torn between admiration and dejection – “wow this is really good/wow that’s really depressing” -something like that… But when a truly gifted artist creates a work for others to share, we get the present. My life was enriched by the production I saw tonight and as a result, my work will be enriched.

It was a sentiment she echoed after she and I attended Unity: 1918 a couple of weeks back.

But further in the post she talks about an image that appears in Madeline L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art (which is, by the way, one of my top arts reads, regardless of faith orientation. L’Engle was the talented writer behind A Wrinkle in Time.). She discusses an analogy drawn by Jean Rhys in which art is a lake and the artists of the world are various sizes of rivers, streams, & trickles.

She quotes Rhys as saying

“I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.”

I love that image. The idea that all of art is this giant lake (actually I’d like to jump in and bathe in it – let it soak into my soul!), and that regardless of the size of our contribute we must continue to feed the lake.

Often, as a Stage Manager, I forget that I am also responsible for feeding the lake. I want to leave that role to the directors, actors & designers whose work is so clearly art. But creating a space in which it is possible for those artists to produce (and even better: to thrive!) is an art all its own, and I need to remember that when I get down about my role in the process.

Feed. The. Lake.

(Edited by SMLois, Dec. 3, 11:15pm)