Friday, May 12, 2006

The Source

What do I want? What do I really want you to do? I will tell you. I want you not to believe anything you have grown up to believe. That the theater is a petty, clever, slick, cheap place. I want you to put an end to this sterile idea. I want you to realize that the life of the theater can be larger and more vital than anything you have ever known. I want you to realize that you have been misled by watching the starved, warped output of the Broadway theater, until you have taken it for granted that the theater is something less than the terrible, wonderful, flaming thing it is. I want you to know that your life in the theater can be full, can be rich, can be drunken with beauty and power; and that elation can be your daily life, your daily bread. I want you to get a sense of responsibility towards the theater. I want you to move out of the shallows into the deep current. I want you to acknowledge the fundamental mystery of the theater. I want you to learn that observation is not a substitute for insight; that ingenuity is not a substitute for imagination; that cleverness is not a substitute for culture. I want you to realize that we are beginning to see that America and Americans are not in the least like what we thought they were. And I want you to create in the theater out of this new awareness of ourselves and our country. I want you to realize how deficient we are in a sense of reality, and how we try to compensate for this deficiency in all sorts of dazzling and futile ways. I want you to learn how the reactions of an audience differ from the reactions of every audience member. I want to repeat that. I want you to learn how the reactions of an audience differ from the reactions of every individual in the audience. I want you to know that audiences have capacities for feeling that no dramatist has ever touched. I want you to learn the height of perception - the contagious excitement - out of which all great work for the theater is created. I want you to learn to see life dynamically - to see it in motion, to see it in action. I want you to learn to respond to the livingness that is on each floating instant of time. To become aware, and always more aware, of that livingness until at last you can know what Plato calls, "the madness of those possessed by the Muses." More than anything else, I want you to be true to your dreams of theater. Now at your time of life, is when you acquire them. Never go back on them. Never! Be true to your dreams. Be true to your love. Be true to your love. - Robert Edmond Jones

I copied this down several years ago and have been trying to find the source. It's not in The Dramatic Imagination. I'm wondering of it comes from his recorded lectures. Anyone have an idea?

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louisjones61474436 said...
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