Monday, November 24, 2014

Quote of the Day (Noel Coward, Letting a ‘Highbrow’ Playwright Have It)

“My worst defect is that I am apt to worry too much about what people think of me when I'm alive. But I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm changing my methods and you're my first experiment. As a rule, when insufferable young beginners have the impertinence to criticize me, I dismiss the whole thing lightly because I'm embarrassed for them and consider it not quite fair game to puncture their inflated egos too sharply. But this time, my highbrow young friend, you're going to get it in the neck. To begin with, your play is not a play at all. It’s a meaningless jumble of adolescent, pseudo-intellectual poppycock. And you yourself wouldn't be here at all if I hadn't been bloody fool enough to pick up the telephone when my secretary wasn't looking. Now that you are here, however, I would like to tell you this. If you wish to be a playwright, you just leave the theater of tomorrow to take care of itself. Go and get yourself a job as a butler in a repertory company if they'll have you. Learn from the ground up how plays are constructed and what is actable and what isn't. Then sit down and write at least twenty plays one after the other, and if you can manage to get the twenty-first produced for a Sunday night performance you'll be damned lucky!”— Noel Coward, Present Laughter (1939)

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