Quotes by: Terry Teachout
Teachout at the 2013 Texas Book Festival.
February 6, 1956 |
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
||Critic, biographer, librettist, author, playwright, stage director, blogger
||St. John’s College;
William Jewell College;
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
I think that most of the best movies made in America in the 20th century were crime dramas, screwball comedies and westerns.
Not surprisingly, my parents' generation did everything they could to make life easier for their own children. Was that good for us? I wonder. It certainly didn't do us any good from a cultural point of view. I'm struck by how few boomers have embraced adult culture in middle age.
I learned more in the rehearsals for 'The Letter' than I have ever dreamed of know in the theater as a critic. If it doesn't make me a better critic, I'm an idiot.
I am, as it happens, a baby boomer, but not one who feels any broad-gauge nostalgia for the '60s and '70s. My attitude resembles that of my parents, who were born in the '20s and lived through the Great Depression and World War II.
Well into the '40s, it wasn't uncommon for big-budget Hollywood movies to contain little or no underscoring, and many of today's directors, following the lead of Martin Scorsese in 'GoodFellas,' accompany their films with pop records, not original music.
Even the Impressionists, the most innovative artists of their time, sought to paint realistically. They believed that their freer way of portraying the visible world was truer to life than the literal realism of the 'salon painters' who dominated French art throughout the 19th century.
Aesthetes have it all over intellectuals in one very important respect: You'll rarely catch us hustling anyone off to the nearest guillotine. We're too busy trying to make the world more beautiful. Our hands are stained with ink and paint, not blood.
At its best, no art form is more thrilling than grand opera, yet none is at greater risk of following the dinosaurs down the cold road to extinction.
There wasn't a lot of live music that you could hear where I came from, which was a small town in southeast Missouri.
A play is not a play until it's performed, and unless it's a one-person play that is acted, directed and designed by the author, many other people will be deeply involved in the complicated process that leads to its performance.
Plays are not written but rewritten, and much of the rewriting takes place at the behest of the director, whose job it is to grapple with the myriad complexities of moving a play from the page to the stage.
You don't have to know anything about the Shakers to appreciate Mr. Copland's score for 'Appalachian Spring' any more than you have to know who William Randolph Hearst was to understand 'Citizen Kane.'
The script of a play is not a finished product: It's a set of instructions.
Critics at their best are independent voices; people take seriously their responsibility to see as many things as they can see, put them in the widest possible perspective, educate their readers. I really do think of myself as a teacher.
Fred Astaire never let you see him sweat, but he sweetened his deceptively casual virtuosity with just enough charm to make it irresistible.
In addition to giving comfort and joy, art also has the miraculous ability to let us live in other men's skins, to test our perceptions and beliefs against theirs, and perhaps to be changed as a result. It does this by portraying the world creatively, heightening our perception and enriching our understanding of things as they are.
The first play I ever saw - I was in junior high school - was a high school production of Noel Coward's 'Blithe Spirit,' which seemed to me absolutely magical.
Anna Deavere Smith's new one-woman show bills itself as being about health care, but the truth is that 'Let Me Down Easy' is mostly about the grimmer subject of death and dying.
Samuel Beckett's estate will not license productions of his plays that are not performed as written.
What's the funniest play ever written? I used to think it was 'Noises Off,' but now that I've seen 'The Liar,' I'm not so sure.
I suspect that most playgoers don't understand how inexact a science literary translation is. Even the simplest of lines may lend itself to multiple renderings.
In 2004, the iPod was a novelty, and tablet computers were a dream. Now we take for granted that we can see whatever we want whenever and wherever we want to see it, be it 'Grand Illusion' or 'Duck Dynasty.'
Most 'Monty Python' fans are, of course, baby boomers, who have long been a nostalgic lot and are growing more so as they totter toward old age.
As late as the early '50s, jazz was still, for the most part, a genuinely popular music, a utilitarian, song-based idiom to which ordinary people could dance if they felt like it.