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Audiences

  • ... anybody's applause is better than nobody's.

  • Audiences are always better pleased with a smart retort, some joke or epigram, than with any amount of reasoning.

  • An audience proves its discipline by its capacity for stillness. Those who have never practiced continuous application to an exacting process cannot settle down to simple watching; they must chew gum, they must dig the peel off their oranges, they must shift from foot to foot, from buttock to buttock.

  • Wave after wave of love flooded the stage and washed over me. This was the beginning of the one great durable romance of my life.

    • Bette Davis,
    • on her first solo curtain call, in People ()
  • This is an age of spectators. Only they are hostile spectators.

  • An audience, like a lover, ought never to be left quite sated.

  • An audience is pleasant if you have it, it is flattering and flattering is agreeable always, but if you have an audience the being an audience is their business, they are the audience you are the writer, let each attend to their own business.

    • Gertrude Stein,
    • "Questions and Answers" (1939), How Writing Is Written ()
  • Applause is an instinctive, unconscious act expressing the sympathy between actors and audience. Just as our art demands more instinct than intellect in its exercise, so we demand of those who watch us an apppreciation of the simple unconscious kind which finds an outlet in clapping rather than the cold intellectual approval which would self-consciously think applause derogatory. I have yet to meet the actor who was sincere in saying that he disliked applause.

  • The public is a monster and that is why I am not eager to return to the stage.

    • Maria Callas,
    • 1960, in Pierre-Jean Rémy, Maria Callas ()
  • I come out before an audience and maybe my house burned down an hour ago, maybe my husband stayed out all night, but I stand there. ... I got them with me, right there in my hand and comfortable. That's my job, to make them comfortable, because if they wanted to be nervous they could have stayed home and added up their bills.

    • Fanny Brice,
    • in Norman Katkov, The Fabulous Fanny ()
  • Your audience gives you everything you need. They tell you. There is no director who can direct you like an audience.

    • Fanny Brice,
    • in Norman Katkov, The Fabulous Fanny ()
  • It is our job only to make the music. The audience that should hear it will be brought to our music at the right time.

  • Believe me, nothing is so calculated to lose you audience sympathy as too many tears. Move your listeners all you can but let them do the crying.

  • That audience embrace has unbelievable power.

  • Most of the pleasure of making a book would go if it held nothing to be shared by other people. I would write for a few dozen people, and sometimes it seems that I do so, but I would not write for no-one.

    • Ivy Compton-Burnett,
    • in Elizabeth Proctor, "The Quip Modest and the Smashing Return," in Harper's Bazaar ()
  • ... like most experts he over-estimated the background knowledge — and the staying power — of his audience.

  • ... customary interruptions are not only gratifying and cheering, but they are also really necessary in order to gain breath and voice to carry one on through some violent exertions; though after all it must be confessed that silence is the most flattering applause an Actor can receive.

  • ... there is no applause that so flatters a man as that which he wrings from unwilling throats ...

    • Ouida,
    • title story, Pipistrello ()
  • Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward.

  • Audiences have kept me alive.

  • [To actors on opening night:] You have had good equipment to work with. You've had a theater with everything you needed, and you are involved with the play; but all the way through you have been handicapped. One essential has been denied you. Tonight the audience is there; now they are sitting out front; you have everything you need ...

  • The theater audience is the ultimate teacher, instructing the actor on the degree to which he has executed both the author's and the director's intent.

  • I never like to play for myself, and that is why I don't own a grand piano. To play for yourself is like looking at yourself in a mirror. I like to practice; that is to work at a task. But to play there must be an audience. New things happen when you play for an audience. You don't know what will occur. You make discoveries with the music, and it is always the first time. It is an exchange, a communion.

  • I'd rather an audience like me than dislike me, but I'd rather they disliked me than be apathetic, because that is the kiss of death.

  • Once you get on stage, everything is right. I feel the most beautiful, complete, fulfilled. I think that's why, in the case of noncompromising career women, parts of our personal lives don't work out. One person can't give you the feeling that thousands of people give you.

  • [On audiences:] I never let them cough. They wouldn't dare.

  • [To the audience at her farewell concert:] You have always given me more than I gave to you ... You were the wings on which I soared.

  • Every now and then, when you're on stage, you hear the best sound a player can hear. It is a sound you can't get in movies or in television. It is the sound of a wonderful, deep silence that means you've hit them where they live.

  • If you give audiences a chance, they'll do half your acting for you.

  • Half the audience understands us, the other half comes because Brecht is this year's playwright to know ...

  • Audiences like their blues singers to be miserable.

  • If you really want to help the American theater, don't be an actress, dahling. Be an audience.

  • You cannot fool an audience.

  • As half of a poem lies with the reader, so half of an actor's effects lies with his audience, and often the best half.

  • An artist, in giving a concert, should not demand an entrance fee but should ask the public to pay, just before leaving, as much as they like. From the sum he would be able to judge what the world thinks of him — and we would have fewer mediocre concerts.

    • Kit Coleman,
    • in Ted Ferguson, Kit Coleman: Queen of Hearts ()