Annie Dillard on presence over productivity
“ The essential thing in theater is that what happens onstage very obviously both is and isn’t at the same time. The play demands that the audience extend its empathic imagination. But simultaneously, the audience—both the individual audience member and the collective animal—is skeptical. It says, But that man isn’t dead. He’s still breathing. And, That isn’t an angel crashing through the ceiling. It’s got these big wires hooking it up. It’s just a woman in a dress and cardboard wings. That disbelief is engaged in a dialectic with the surrender of skepticism. The theater requires an essential gullibility that you can’t get through life without having. If all you can feel is skepticism—well, you meet people like this. Run away from them. They’re not good people. ”
Tony Kushner in the Paris Review.
“ I love the idea that drama is a form of literature, and I love the fact that plays are published and can be read. But this can create a problem or a conflict. For example, it might be perfectly appropriate for a character in a play to say something like, “Edwin, I’ve always believed that there are tuna-salad men, and there are hamburger men, and I’ve always been a bit of a tuna-salad man myself, so I think I’ll sit this one out.” But it might actually be more effective and better for the actor onstage to say, “No! I won’t do that.” Given the right actor, those words might ring out, they might fly across the stage and devastate everyone. The sound of those words, the rhythm of them, might perfectly and beautifully convey the character’s hopes, needs, and beliefs. To the spectator sitting in the audience, “No! I won’t do that!” might be the most exciting moment in the whole play, even though for the reader sitting at home it might seem like a very flat and uninteresting line. ”
Wallace Shawn, in the Paris Review.
As at 1 December, 2012.
“ [Obama’s path to re-election] followed a pattern that has been an arc to his political career: faltering when he seemed to be at his strongest — the period before his first debate with Mr. Romney — before he redoubled his efforts to lift himself and his supporters to victory. ”
Tamy Ben Tor, “Time and Space” 2011.
"My work is about tables as a place to put your laptop on, coffee shops, sitting in them, writing emails, applying for grants and drinking coffee, and, in fact, I think it has a close relation to architecture and space, because in history there has been a movement which is a source of nothingness for me."