Terrence McNally quotes

  • I don't think I've ever written anything even remotely naturalistic. The closest probably would be seen as 'Frankie and Johnny,' and that's only 'cause they eat a sandwich and make an omelet in act two. But it's a romantic fairy tale, and I'm very aware of that. I don't think it helps the actors in my plays to lose themselves in the reality of talking to another person. A good McNally actor always knows he's in a play with an audience.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Reality #Thinking #Talking

  • Cheating is not the American way. It is small, while we are large. It is cheap, while we are richly endowed. It is destructive, while we are creative. It is doomed to fail, while our gifts and responsibilities call us to achieve. It sabotages trust and weakens the bonds of spirit and humanity, without which we perish.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Cheating #Responsibility #Creative

  • I've had wonderful collaborators. They're very different, just as actors are. Working on a show with Nathan Lane is different from working on a show with Chita Rivera. It keeps you on your toes because it's different every time.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Actors #Toes #Different

  • I'm of the school 'Write what you know.' You can educate yourself, but the best writing usually comes from the heart.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Heart #School #Writing

  • I may think I have inalienable rights to be alive and happy, but I don't - life is a blessing.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Thinking #Blessing #Rights

  • Work with good directors. Without them your play is doomed. At the time of my first play, I thought a good director was someone who liked my play. I was rudely awakened from that fantasy when he directed it as if he loathed it. . . . Work with good actors. A good actor hears the way you (and no one else) write. A good actor makes rewrites easy. A good actor tells you things about your play you didn't know.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Writing #Play #Actors

  • Write plays that matter. Raise the stakes. Shout, yell, holler, but make yourself heard. It's time for playwrights to reclaim the theatre. We do that by speaking from the heart about the things that matter most to us. If a play isn't worth dying for, maybe it isn't worth writing.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Heart #Writing #Play

  • Whenever you think you're writing what other people want to hear from you, and that it'll be commercial, you're doomed to disaster. Writing has to be as truthful and specific as we can make it. The minute we think that we're reaching more people and pleasing them, we get general. And audiences sense that and turn away, shun us.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Writing #Thinking #People

  • I like to surprise myself. I've always been attracted to projects where I don't know how they're going to turn out.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Surprise #Projects #Turns

  • There are so many rules about play writing. I'd have a nervous breakdown if I followed them.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Writing #Play #Nervous

  • Young people have got to start their own theaters, really. All good theater is a kind of mom-and-pop operation. Start your own theater.
    -- Terrence McNally

    #Mom #People #Kind