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Wallace Shawn Quotes
- Page 3
The actor's role in the community is quite unlike anyone else's. Businessmen, for example, don't take their clothes off or cry in front of strangers in the course of their work. Actors do.
When I was first starting to write plays, I quite literally had never heard of the idea of studying playwriting. I wouldn't have studied it even if I had heard of it.
After being in one movie, it didn't seem like that would be my life. I had done several jobs, briefly. I'd been a shipping clerk, I worked in a copy shop, I didn't think the acting was going to go on and on.
But because we've all been readers, we know what the experience is like, and we hope that what certain writers have given to us, we will give to someone.
For me, a play is a form of writing which isn't complete until it is interpreted by actors. But it's still a form of writing. And so most of my time is spent thinking about how to write a sentence.
For some reason, people find me funny. It's quite hard to define why a thought is funny. It's even harder to define why a person would be funny. It's a word that I can't define at all. But whether I know quite what it is or not, I seem to be it.
I started writing plays in around 1967, and at a certain point, I thought, 'I'm writing plays, I should learn about acting and what it is.' So I went to the HB Studio in New York, and I was there for about nine months.
I think the whole system of education would change if I were in charge and had the ability to make changes. I don't think I would keep Princeton exactly being Princeton.
I wrote my first play at the age of 10, 55 years ago, and I've always found it a fantastic relief to imagine I know what things would be like from the point of view of other individuals and to send out signals from where I actually am not. Playwrights never need to write from the place where they are.
I'm afraid that the passage of time is mostly lost on me. If you were to open up my head you would see that I'm still brooding about statements, songs and issues from the third grade. The years between 1980 and today went by very, very quickly.
I'm not proud to be me, I'm not excited to be me, but I find that I am me, and like most other individuals, I send out little signals; I tell everyone else how everything looks from where I am.
In my mind, the plays I was writing were extreme examples of art for art's sake. I didn't necessarily think that other people would love them, though I thought they probably would.
My personal life is lived as 'me,' but my professional life is lived as other people. In other words, when I go to the office, I lie down, dream, and become 'someone else.' That's my job.
You can go to a play that is enjoyable because it's funny, and then on the next night you can go to a play that's enjoyable because it's 'disturbing.'
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