Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Quote of the Day (Robertson Davies, on How to ‘Train Yourself to Read Plays’)

“You can train yourself to read plays so that they will give you keen enjoyment. The directions are few. First, you must give the play a fair chance; it is not a novel, and it should not be read in scraps; try to complete it in an evening. Second, always read it in a theatrical frame-work; it was written for the stage, and you must, to the best of your ability, visualize it as a stage production. This takes some doing, for you may not have a strong theatrical imagination. When a play is well performed in the theater a crowd of experts have all worked to give you pleasure; you will not at first trial provide in your mind a director, a designer, and a cast of talented actors. Do not be disappointed if your early attempts seem a little heavy. If you persist, the art will come, in a sufficient measure, for it is a law of the imagination that the more you want, the more it will provide. Persist, and the reading of plays can become a splendid private indulgence.”—Canadian man of letters Robertson Davies (1913-1995), “Making the Best of Second Best,” in A Voice From the Attic: Essays on the Art of Reading (1960)

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