Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.
A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.
Every exit is an entry somewhere else.
It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting.
Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.
Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up.
All your life, you live so close to truth, it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye. And when something nudges it into outline, it is like being ambushed by a grotesque.
I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon.
If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.
Responsibilities gravitate to the person who can shoulder them.
It is not hard to understand modern art. If it hangs on a wall it's a painting, and if you can walk around it it's a sculpture.
Obviously, you would give your life for your children, or give them the last biscuit on the plate. But to me, the trick in life is to take that sense of generosity between kin, make it apply to the extended family and to your neighbour, your village and beyond.
Theatre is a series of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
I am not a mathematician, but I was aware that for centuries, mathematics was considered the queen of the sciences because it claimed certainty. It was grounded on some fundamental certainties - axioms - that led to others.
We're actors. We're the opposite of people.
Good things, when short, are twice as good.
Life is a gamble, at terrible odds - if it was a bet you wouldn't take it.
I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity.
We give advice by the bucket, but take it by the grain.
I consider myself to be a very fortunate person and to have led a very fortunate life.
Time is short, life is short, there's a lot to know. So I skip the entertainers in the newspaper now. I just haven't got time.
The House of Lords, an illusion to which I have never been able to subscribe - responsibility without power, the prerogative of the eunuch throughout the ages.
The whole notion of journalism being an institution whose fundamental purpose is to educate and inform and even, one might say, elevate, has altered under commercial pressure, perhaps, into a different kind of purpose, which is to divert and distract and entertain.
If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music and of aviation.
I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you're dead.
I think... the history of civilization is an attempt to codify, classify and categorize aspects of human nature that hardly lend themselves to that process.
When 'The Dark Side of the Moon' was a new album in 1973, a friend of mine walked into my room where I was working with a copy in his hand and said, 'You really have to do a play about this album.'
My desk faces the water, and I'm perfectly happy sitting there. I'm never lonely.
If you associate enough with older people who do enjoy their lives, who are not stored away in any golden ghettos, you will gain a sense of continuity and of the possibility for a full life.
Revolution is a trivial shift in the emphasis of suffering.
I want to support the whole idea of the humanities and teaching the humanities as being something that - even if it can't be quantitatively measured as other subjects - it's as fundamental to all education.
Childhood is Last Chance Gulch for happiness. After that, you know too much.
Hotel rooms inhabit a separate moral universe.
I'm a conservative kind of person. I don't think rightwing is quite the same thing. But I acknowledge my conservatism of temperament.
My life feels, week to week, incomplete to the level of being pointless if I am not in preparation for the next play or, ideally, into it.
When I think of how things could have turned out, I feel as if I've dodged, not just bullets, but 6mm shells.
I think of myself as a theater animal instead of an intellectual animal.
From principles is derived probability, but truth or certainty is obtained only from facts.
Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaning it.
For me, human rights simply endorse a view of life and a set of moral values that are perfectly clear to an eight-year-old child. A child knows what is fair and isn't fair, and justice derives from that knowledge.
I was an awful critic. I operated on the assumption that there was an absolute scale of values against which art could be measured. I didn't trust my own subjective responses.
The text loses its virginity simply by being staged: it's no longer the abstract ideal version; it's an event.
My scripts are possibly too talkative. Sometimes I watch a scene I've written, and occasionally I think, 'Oh, for God's sake, shut up.'
Despite the digital age, there is a very large number of venues and spaces that are looking for plays, and many of them are looking for new plays.
It takes a lot of effort to be vibrant.
I was so thrilled being a reporter, because it gave you the kind of access to people that you wouldn't ever get to meet.
I'm good at being funny.
The thing about talking about human rights is that when one bears in mind the sharp end of it, one does not want to worry too much about semantics.
I don't keep a diary and I throw away nearly all the paper I might have kept. I don't keep an archive. There's something worrying about my make-up that I try to leave no trace of myself apart from my plays.
The more doors there are for you to open, the better the play.
I don't feel that I belong anywhere. Or rather, if there's a place I belong, I don't feel I'm there.
A free press needs to be a respected press.
I wish I could remember how to write a play. I can't remember how they happened.
What is the society we wish to protect? Is it the society of complete surveillance for the commonwealth? Is this the wealth we seek to have in common - optimal security at the cost of maximal surveillance?
I write plays because writing dialogue is the only respectable way of contradicting yourself. I put a position, rebut it, refute the rebuttal, and rebut the refutation.
Because theatre is a story-telling art form, we feel entitled to assume that the playwright got there before we got there.
Rewriting isn't just about dialogue; it's the order of the scenes, how you finish a scene, how you get into a scene.
Quite early on, and certainly since I started writing, I found that philosophical questions occupied me more than any other kind. I hadn't really thought of them as being philosophical questions, but one rapidly comes to an understanding that philosophy's only really about two questions: 'What is true?' and 'What is good?'
After all these years, I definitely associate having a pen in my hand with having an ashtray just out of eye line.
The notion that the 'leader' has the right to ask huge sacrifices of your generation for a notional future paradise - if you'd be good enough to lie down under the wheels of the juggernaut - that sentimental and self-aggrandising rationalisation for brute force and cowardice I felt from adolescence was wrong.
Somebody who likes to do my plays is a good director for them.
The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means.
The way 'star' used to be reserved for a small number of people, and when the star category became so vast, they came up with 'superstar,' and then they came up with 'megastar.'
You don't often get a proposal to do Tolstoy for a really interesting director - that's easy to say yes to.
Like many people, I only knew of Ford Madox Ford through a book called 'The Good Soldier,' which is everybody's favorite Ford Madox Ford if they have one, but I came to read 'Parade's End' when it was suggested via Damien Timmer of Mammoth Screen.
You can't go around chasing your own plays and showing up every time somebody does one somewhere. You just cross your fingers and hope that they're OK.
I don't know that I want to share all my most intimate secrets.
To wrap up the idea of 'Parade's End' in a sentence or two, I would say it's a love story in which we see a man with two women, and we know what's attractive about them. And we know why and what they feel about him.
When I was 20, in 1957, and maybe you would say I was old enough to know better, but nevertheless, I was completely nuts about Buddy Holly. And I loved pop bands that had absolutely no intellectual pretensions whatsoever. I loved the Monkees.
It's very common for people to recommend something to me because they're going on what I've already written, when, what really is the case, is that you want to write about something you haven't written about, in ways that you haven't done before.
When you write, it's making a certain kind of music in your head. There's a rhythm to it, a pulse, and on the whole, I'm writing to that drum rather than the psychological process.
My intention still is to write a play to commemorate, possibly rather skeptically, the 50th anniversary of the Russian revolution. I started it at the beginning of 1966, but confronted with the enormous importance and reality of that revolution, I absolutely boggle. I don't know what to do about it.
The whole thing about writing a play is that it's all about controlling the flow of information traveling from the stage to the audience. It's a stream of information, but you've got your hand on the tap, and you control in which order the audience receives it and with what emphasis, and how you hold it all together.
I like pop music. I consider rock 'n' roll to be a branch of pop music.
One senses that all the Bolsheviks, even those who ended up as cold-blooded autocrats, had been on a journey from idealism to something else, and didn't notice - to mix periods - when the Rubicon was crossed.
When I was younger, I could do something useful just by being free for half a day, but now I need five days to get the world I've left out of my head and ten days or a fortnight not talking to anyone to hold what I need to hold inside my head.
Chekhov was capable of casually tossing off deplorable comments in his letters, combined with a very modern anger against anti-Semitism.
One of the attractions of translating 'Heroes' is that it's not the kind of play that I write. If it had been, I probably wouldn't have wanted to translate it. There are no one-liners. It's much more a truthful comedy than a play of dazzling wit.
You should not translate for more than two hours at a time. After that, you lose your edge, the language becomes clumsy, rigid.
The media. It sounds like a convention of spiritualists.
If the audience is made to do not enough work, they resent it without knowing it. Too much and they get lost. There's a perfect pace to be found. And a perfect place that is different for every line of the play.
If you are well known at something else, you get points for doing stuff which lots of other people do, and much more, and they don't get any points at all. You get over-praised, over-credited.
Life in a box is better than no life at all... I expect.
When I was a reporter in Bristol, which I was between the years 1954 and 1960, the newspaper would get tickets for whoever showed up to play a gig at the big hall down the road, so I saw some wonderful people. The Everly Brothers, for example.
I don't believe there is something called 'film' and something called 'theater,' and that words belong in the theater. Some rather bad films have few words in them; some good films have a lot of words in them.
I'm offended by things and take pathetic little stands against them.
The idea that anybody might be allowed to use their common sense when clearly no harm is being done is part of history now.
Personally, I read reviews because I'm interested by them, but they don't have utility for me.
I never had any frustration about writing uncredited. I always felt that the satisfaction of doing it was in the doing of it, really, and getting recognised by the small number of people that know what you did.
It is no light matter to put in jeopardy a single life when it is the very singularity of each life which underpins the idea of a just society.
Fatherlessness didn't strike me as being an event. It was a state of life.
Lou Reed was a hero because he was an anti-hero.
Love is - OK, it's 20 things, but it isn't 19. And I think that love reaches for something which is very, very deep in us and is very easily obscured, and is also very easily denied, which is the instinct towards the other person, other than toward the self.
'The Importance of Being Earnest' is important, but it says nothing about anything.
I've seldom minded other people's opinions, but the other side of that coin is that I've seldom been interested by them, um their opinions about me I mean.
Why should I write a play? I don't have to write a play, do I? But somehow, I think that's what I'm here for, so I'd better do it.
All of my scripts are based on other people's novels. Generally, I consider myself as one who writes for theatre. I do not see film work as a continuation of writing for theatre. It is more of an interruption of the writing process.
You do know what's coming up when you're translating. I suppose the concentration, then, is on finding a formulation which is speakable and in character - and economical as well, actually.
The possibilities are infinite with new writing; every time you open a new script, there's no limit to what it might contain.
Success is a sort of metaphysical experience. I live exactly as I did before - only on a slightly bigger scale. Naturally, I won't be corrupted. I'll sit there in my Rolls, uncorrupted, and tell my chauffeur, uncorruptedly, where to go.