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Tony Kushner Quotes
- Page 3
Theater really gets damaged when there is a paucity of good criticism around.
I think I have a great deal of self-hatred, a profound feeling of fraudulence, of being detestable and evil. It's only a part of me, but it's there, and it's active.
The kind of theater that I do is sort of 'narrative realism,' which I think in the broadest sense is legitimate to say is mainstream. I mean, in a certain sense, Suzan-Lori's plays have had mainstream levels of success. But Suzan-Lori is in some ways not a narrative realist.
And I don't consider Broadway the acropolis of theatrical art. I mean Broadway is commercial - that's what it is. It's expensive seats and a lot of them that have to be filled every night. Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway, as far as I'm concerned, is in New York the pride of New York theater.
I grew up in a small Southern town, and there were white people and black people. Coming to New York to go to Columbia, every time I went into the subway I was absolutely astounded because you see people from all over the world who actually live here - who aren't just here as tourists.
I think I'll always be a better playwright than a pundit, but I believe that writers should be public intellectuals and that theater, even more than film, is a place of public debate.
I write plays and movies, I live and work at the borderline between word and image just as any cartoonist or illustrator does. I'm not a pure writer. I use words as the score for kinetic imagistic representations.
I'm a sort of political person, and I feel that there's a kind of ineradicably political dimension to theater, to all theater, whether it's overtly political or not.
If you know that life is basically going to be horrendously difficult, at best, and all but unlivable at worst, or possibly even unlivable, do you go on? And the choice to go on is the only thing that I think can be called hope. Because if hope isn't forced to encounter the worst possibility, then it's a lie.
My back went out and I gained 40 pounds while sweating over 'Perestroika.' It was incredibly hard, the hardest thing I had to do before the screenplay to 'Lincoln.'
One of the things I learned in 'Slavs!' is that it's much easier to talk about being gay than it is to talk about being a socialist. People are afraid of socialism, and plays that deal with economics are scarier to them.
The big influence on me was Robert Altman, who, especially in 'Nashville,' transformed my sense of dramatic structure and showed how you could handle overlapping stories.
When I teach writing, I always tell my students you should assume that the audience you're writing for is smarter than you. You can't write if you don't think they're on your side, because then you start to yell at them or preach down to them.
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