OLDSOULS

"To write well about something you have to either love it or hate it very much."

Attributed to John Steinbeck

"Theater brings us together, to sit near one another, to hear stories, to lift our voices in song. At a time in our history when we all wonder how we can live together on this planet, our need for community feels more important than ever. When we gather in the theater, feelings are magnified, commonalities are illuminated, prejudices are challenged, our hearts are opened."

Portland Center Stage Manifesto

Patsy Rodenburg: Why I do theater

"The Ptolemaic science on which Hamlet’s protestations are grounded, as Shakespeare knew, was already discredited by the Copernican revolution: the stars aren’t fire, the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth. In such a universe, truth may well turn out to be a liar. Ophelia really does have good grounds to doubt—that is suspect—that Hamlet never loved her. We can see why Hamlet doesn’t want his love letters back—and why he can no longer unburden himself to Ophelia. We are all that is left. Maybe the great secret of the soliloquies is not their inwardness so much as their outwardness, their essaylike capacity to draw us into an intimate relationship with the speaker and see the world through his eyes."

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro

"In Julius Caesar, Shakespeare had discovered the potential of writing tragedy constructed on the fault line of irresolvable conflict."

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro

"Within this maze, Shakespeare forces Hamlet to wrestle with a series of ethical problems that he must resolve before he can act—and it is this, more than overintellectualizing (as Coleridge had it) an Oedipal complex (as Freud urged) that accounts for Hamlet’s delay. The soliloquies restlessly return to these conflicts, which climax in, “To be or not to be”: in a world that feels so “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable,” is it better to live or die? And is the fear of what awaits him in the next world enough to offset the urge to commit suicide? Is the Ghost come from purgatory to warn him or should he see this visitation in a Protestant light (for Protestants didn’t believe in purgatory) as a devil who will exploit his melancholy and “abuses me to damn me”? (2.2.603). Is revenge a human or a divine prerogative? Is it right to kill Claudius at his prayers, even if this means sending his shriven soul to heaven? When, if ever, is killing a tyrant justified—and does the failure to do so invite damnation?"

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro

"Shakespeare must have recognized how much he had thrived on the highly charged political atmosphere of the past twelve months, when the nation had confronted everything from an “Invisible Armada” and an ill-fated Irish campaign to the banning and burning of books and the silencing of preachers—experiences that had deepened his bond with an audience that had come to depend on the theater to make sense of the world and had found in Shakespeare its most incisive interpreter."

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro

"In his letter writter from the court at the end of 1599, John Donne had concluded witheringly that Essex “understood not his age” and “that such men want locks for themselves and keys for others.” The opposite may be said of Shakespeare. He understood his age perfectly, and the depth and pofundity of that understanding, which continued to draw contemporaries to his plays, has ensure that we still read him and see these plays performed today in “states unborn and accents yet unknown,” as he prophetically put it in Julius Caesar (3.I.114). More so, perhaps, than any other writer before or since, Shakespeare held the keys that opened the hearts and minds of others, even as he kept a lock on what he revealed about himself."

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro

Emma Thompson: By the Book

I found this on the side of a paper-mache rock. I was intrigued.

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

"The thing about being an outsider is that it teaches you to hear what other people are thinking just in self-defense. You first of all have to be very, very alert if somebody or a group of people is dangerous, and second of all if there’s kindness, you have to hear it, you have to move toward it because that might be someone who can help you figure something out."

Mike Nichols

"It’s all about people together. And [being] interested in, people skills, and knowing what people are really thinking or really doing."

Mike Nichols

"I think fear is part of the whole process. It’s necessary.Fear is the excitement. Fear is the thing that basically says, ‘You only get to do this one time.’"

Mike Nichols

"There are only three kinds of scenes. There are seductions, fights, and negotiations. Most of Shakespeare is negotiation."

Mike Nichols

"And our need and our desire for story is so powerful that it will work. If you’re truthful in it. If you don’t do this real, as yourself, I’ll come beat the crap out of you. You have to really love each other. As soon as an audience recognizes that, they laugh their ass off and they’re perfectly happy. They have a story and it has a happy ending. And that’s all of us who want nothing more. And it’s pretty difficult to achieve without love. And love and its consumation, is the ending of most happy stories."

Mike Nichols