Monday, March 25, 2013

Michael Ramsay, Archbishop of Canterbury during my childhood and during my religious phase a hero and profound influence, was once accused by an interviewer of being wise.
"Am I?" he asked. "I don't think so really. I think it is probably just the impression given by the absurd fecundity of my eyebrows."
"Well, your Grace," the interviewer persisted, "how would you define wisdom?"
"Wisdom?" Ramsay chewed the word around in his mouth. "Oh, I should say that wisdom is the ability to cope."
Moab Is My Washpot, Stephen Fry

Friday, March 15, 2013

"I play the piano a good deal," he said "I have a seven-foot Steinway. Mozart and Bach mostly. I'm a bit old-fashioned. Most people find it dull stuff. I don't."
"Perfect casting," I said, and put a card somewhere.
"You'd be surprised how difficult some of that Mozart is," he said. "It sounds so simple when you hear it played well."
"Who can play it well?" I asked.
He shook his head. "Too heavy. Too emotional. Mozart is just music. No comment needed from the performer."
The Little Sister, Raymond Chandler

The return of the voice also enabled me to begin really to taste the verse [of Titus Andronicus]. I discovered that it was like surfing. Unlike modern writing, the words, the metre and the rhythm contain their own energy. Once you've liberated it, it carries you forward effortlessly. It's a question of putting one's brain into the words and one's emotions into the rhythm. The metaphors have such a vigorous life of their own, that they sweep through one unaided; that is to say, if the rhythmic conduit has been firmly established. I have to confess that in these matters, as with Shakespeare in general, I have found the Stanislavsky system of no use. Metaphor is the problem. It cannot be coerced into the activity-towards-an-action straitjacket.
Being an Actor, Simon Callow