“We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars… everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet ain’t be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being. – Stage Manager, OUR TOWN
I can definitely count Thorton Wilder, and specifically The Skin of Our Teeth as influential on my own writing. So when I was doing my looky-loo for a quote for today, I was pretty tickled to come across these by Mr. Wilder. I couldn’t pick just one to post here. So I did more. Cause there aren’t really any rules here, unless I missed the memo. Which is not out of the realm of possibility. I miss many memos.
A dramatist is one who believes that the pure event, an action involving human beings, is more arresting than any comment that can be made upon it.
I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
I love how he talks about the human condition in the theatre. And that the actions of human beings are pure theatrical events. That is something I directly relate to. When I write it’s all about the humans and what they are doing. Who are they, who are they connecting to (or not) want are they trying to accomplish. Even in my lightest of plays, it all in the connection, or lack there of between one human being to another. That’s the type of writing I like, that I connect to.
The theatre is supremely fitted to say: Behold! These things are. Yet most dramatists employ it to say: This moral truth can be learned from beholding this action.
I’ve never been on the ‘theatre as idea’ train. I used to live in a city that seemed to revere that type of theatre and I have many many memories of looking at the stage and around at the audience and thinking I had to be on the wrong planet. Especially since I couldn’t get anyone to buy into what I was writing. I’m not fond of writing that provides answers either. I’m more interested in questions.
The unencumbered stage encourages the truth operative in everyone. The less seen, the more heard. The eye is the enemy of the ear in real drama.
This quote interests me to the point that I may have to write something about it. Would an audience sit through an entire play in the dark? Would they be able to release the hold that sight has on them, or would they turn off and start to rustle? Other plays have ventured into the lights on=dark/ lights off=light but how much darkness could an audience handle?
There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
This is another quote that makes me want to write. Living. Dead. And love in-between. Make each a character. What would each want from the other? How would each resist the other? How would you make them human beings trying to connect?
Thank you Thorton, for the lovely thoughts running round my brain on a Saturday. Now where, my notebook…..
“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? Every, every minute? ” Our Town