Quotes on Acting… for Writers


Here are some quotes on acting from various theater actors and teachers which can also be applied toward creative writing

1.”Each action of the actor on the stage should be the visible concomitant of his thoughts. ” Sarah Bernhardt

2.  “He who is incapable of feeling strong passions, of being shaken by anger, of living in every sense of the word, will never be a good actor.”- Sarah Bernhardt

3.   “Permanent success cannot be achieved except by incessant intellectual labour, always inspired by the ideal. ” – Sarah Bernhardt

4. “There is all the difference in the world between departure from recognised rules by one who has learned to obey them, and neglect of them through want of training or want of skill or want of understanding. Before you can be eccentric you must know where the circle is.”- Ellen Terry

5.  “Imagination!  Imagination!  I put it first years ago, when I was asked what qualities I thought necessary for success on the stage.”- Ellen Terry

6.  “Vary the pace.  It is the foundation of all good acting.”- Ellen Terry

7.   “Imagination, industry, and intelligence — the three I s — are all indispensable to the actress, but of these three the greatest is, without doubt, imagination.”- Ellen Terry

8. ” “He never adheres to the first image that appears to him, because he knows that this is not necessarily the richest and more correct. He sacrifices one image for another more intense and expressive, and he does this repeatedly until new and unknown visions strike him with their revealing spell.” — Michael Chekhov

9.  “The inner life of the [imagination], and not the personal and tiny experiential resources of the actor, should be elaborated on the stage and shown to the audience. This life is rich and revealing for the audience as well as for the actor himself.” – Michael Chekhov

10.  “You have to get beyond your own precious inner experiences. The actor cannot afford to look only to his own life for all his material nor pull strictly from his own experience to find his acting choices and feelings. The ideas of the great playwrights are almost always larger than the experiences of even the best actors.” – Stella Adler

11.  “Whatever you decide is your motivation in the scene, the opposite of that is also true and should be in the scene.” – Michael Shurtleff

12.  “One way we can enliven the imagination is to push it toward the illogical. We’re not scientists. We don’t always have to make the logical, reasonable leap.” – Stella Adler

13.  “We don’t live for realities, but for the fantasies, the dreams of what might be. If we lived for reality, we’d be dead, every last one of us. Only dreams keep us going…When you are acting, don’t settle for anything less than the biggest dream for your character’s future.” – Michael Shurtleff

14.  “Work for the actor lies essentially in two areas: the ability to consistently create reality and the ability to express that reality.” – Lee Strasberg

15.  “Talent is an amalgam of high sensitivity; easy vulnerability; high sensory equipment (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting intensely); a vivid imagination as well as a grip on reality; the desire to communicate one’s own experience and sensations, to make one’s self heard and seen.” – Uta Hagen

16.  “When an acting teacher tells a student ‘that wasn’t honest work’ or ‘that didn’t seem real,’ what does this mean? In life, we are rarely ‘truthful’ or ‘honest’ or ‘real’. And characters in plays are almost never ‘truthful’ or ‘honest’ or ‘real’. What exactly do teachers even mean by these words? A more useful question is: What is the story the actor was telling in their work? An actor is always telling a story. We all are telling stories, all the time. Story: that is what it is all about.”- Stella Adler

17.  “When an actor is completely absorbed by some profoundly moving objective so that he throws his whole being passionately into its execution, he reaches a state we call inspiration.”
– Stanislavski

18-  “Put life into the imagined circumstances and actions until you have completely satisfied your sense of truth and until you have awakened a sense of faith in the reality of your own sensations.”- Stanislavski

19.  “Acting is the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”- Sanford Meisner

20.  “Less is more!”- Sanford Meisner

21.  “Your talent is in your choice. “- Stella Adler

Mina Loy: Bohemian Artist and Poet

One of the delights of writing stories set in the past is discovering, or re-discovering people who’ve left behind intriguing pieces of work.   We all know the big names of the Jazz Age, but whilst researching books my character, Jackie, may have read, I came across a name which I’d never heard before:  Mina Loy. 

The avant-garde poet, artist, and playwright was born  on December 27, 1882 in London.

At the age of seventeen she moved to the Munich, Germany to study painting.    After marrying Stephen Haweis, she moved with him to Paris where she joined the circle of leading avant-garde artists including Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Djuna Barnes, and Henri Rosseau. 

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Consider Your Grandmother’s Stays: drawing by Mina Loy, 1916

In 1907, Mina and Stephen moved to Florence, Italy.  Soon thereafter, they separated and she began a relationship with Filippo Marinetti, leader of the Futurist Movement.  

Eight years later, Mina wrote “Love Songs” which shocked readers with its frank portrayal of human sexuality.  Imagist poet, Amy Lowel, was so incensed by its publication in Others  that she stopped submitting her own work to the magazine.

By 1916,  Loy had grown wary of the Futurist Movement’s growing attachment to fascism, and she moved to New York City where  she befriended the likes of Marcel Duchamp and Marianne Moore.   She continued to write poetry, and perform in local plays, while her spiritual beliefs led her to Christian Scientism. 

After falling in love with the Dadaist poet, Arthur Craven, she moved with him to Mexico City where they lived in desolute conditions.   In 1919, after Mina discovered she was pregnant, Craven insisted he must find a better place for them to live.   Using a small yacht, he set sail for Buenos Aires whilst Mina watched from the shore.

Craven was never seen alive again.  His daughter was born in April.

Unable to accept Craven’s death, Mina flitted around from Florence to New York to Paris back to New York, and finally settled in Colorado in her final years.   To the time of her death at the age of eighty-three, she never stopped creating art. 

Lunar Baedeker

by Mina Loy:

A silver Lucifer
cocaine in cornucopia
To some somnambulists
of adolescent thighs
in satirical draperies
Peris is livery
for posthumous parvenues
Delirious Avenues
with the chandelier souls
of infusoria
from Pharoah’s tombstones
to mercurial doomsdays
Odious oasis
in furrowed phosphorous
the eye-white sky-light
white-light district
of lunar lusts
Stellectric signs

Of Regency and the Jazz Age Fashion

Yeah!  Now that I have finished the latest revisions on Portraits of the Living: A Ghost Tale, I can finally dip back into I Remember Jacqueline, my novel of murder and reincarnation.

As the two timelines take place primarily in 1820s and 1920s, I thought it would be fun to take a quick, pictorial female fashion tour through those decades.


female fashions:

File:Kiprensky Anna Sagur.jpg

File:Nanette Kaula - Joseph Karl Stieler.jpg

File:Natalia Stepanovna Golitsyna .jpg

File:Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres 010.jpg

File:Ingres Madame Marie Marcotte.jpg

File:Maria Carolina di due Sicilies, duchess de Berry.jpg

File:Stieler strobl 1827.jpg

One hundred years later:

File:Louise Brooks ggbain.32453u.jpg

File:Ailsa Mellon Bruce.jpg

File:Alicejoyce1926full crop.jpg

File:Norma Shearer portrait.jpg

File:A Scena Muda 1921.jpg

pictures include: Louise Brooks, Norma Shearer, Norma Talmadge, Josephine Baker, Clara Bow,  Bebe Daniels, and Zelda Fitzgerald