Tom Stoppard - Quotes

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If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.

If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.

A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.

A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.

Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up. ---->>>

Every exit is an entry somewhere else.

Every exit is an entry somewhere else.

I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon. ---->>>

I'm hopeless at looking into myself and trying to see how things are working and why. ---->>>

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.

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 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. ---->>>

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.

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.

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? ---->>>

The idea of the state is, or should be, a very limited, prescribed idea. The state looks after the defense of the realm, and other matters - raising revenue to pay for things which are for all of us, and so on. That idea has turned turtle now. The state isn't any longer perceived as an institution which exists to serve us. ---->>>

Theatre is a series of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. ---->>>

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.

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.

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. ---->>>

It is easily and often overlooked that when Thomas Jefferson asserted that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were inalienable human rights, he did so on the ground that they had been endowed by God, our Creator.

It is easily and often overlooked that when Thomas Jefferson asserted that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were inalienable human rights, he did so on the ground that they had been endowed by God, our Creator.

Responsibilities gravitate to the person who can shoulder them. ---->>>

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.

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.

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 not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting.

It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting.

A movie camera is like having someone you have a crush on watching you from afar - you pretend it's not there. ---->>>

The idea that being human and having rights are equivalent - that rights are inherent - is unintelligible in a Darwinian world. ---->>>

The text loses its virginity simply by being staged: it's no longer the abstract ideal version; it's an event. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

In January 1962, when I was the author of one and a half unperformed plays, I attended a student production of 'The Birthday Party' at the Victoria Rooms in Bristol. Just before it began, I realised that Harold Pinter was sitting in front of me.

In January 1962, when I was the author of one and a half unperformed plays, I attended a student production of 'The Birthday Party' at the Victoria Rooms in Bristol. Just before it began, I realised that Harold Pinter was sitting in front of me.

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.' ---->>>

Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

My whole life is waiting for the questions to which I have prepared answers. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

Good things, when short, are twice as good. ---->>>

We give advice by the bucket, but take it by the grain. ---->>>

We're actors. We're the opposite of people. ---->>>

The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means. ---->>>

When I think of how things could have turned out, I feel as if I've dodged, not just bullets, but 6mm shells. ---->>>

From principles is derived probability, but truth or certainty is obtained only from facts. ---->>>

Honesty is seldom ingratiating and often discomfiting. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

I'm offended by things and take pathetic little stands against them. ---->>>

If enough things that are untrue are said about you, no one will know what really is true. ---->>>

A free press needs to be a respected press. ---->>>

In the end, my children put me on to Pink Floyd when they were teenagers. ---->>>

The possibilities are infinite with new writing; every time you open a new script, there's no limit to what it might contain. ---->>>

A great production of a black comedy is better than a mediocre production of a comedy of errors. ---->>>

Because theatre is a story-telling art form, we feel entitled to assume that the playwright got there before we got there. ---->>>

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 so grateful to grab hold of something that wants to be a play. It doesn't happen very often. I don't have unwritten plays waiting for their turn. ---->>>

James Joyce - an essentially private man who wished his total indifference to public notice to be universally recognized. ---->>>

The idea that anybody might be allowed to use their common sense when clearly no harm is being done is part of history now. ---->>>

I don't do interviews under false pretenses. ---->>>

I loved the Beatles when they turned up, and the Stones when they turned up, and never really stopped liking them. ---->>>

A 'human right' is, by definition, timeless. It cannot adhere to some societies and not others, at some times and not at other times. ---->>>

Chekhov understood that people are mysterious and can't be reduced to what we nowadays call 'motivation.' ---->>>

Corporeal death is not the whole story. ---->>>

I don't think falling in love in Slovakia is much different from falling in love in Tunbridge Wells. ---->>>

I write scenes - often quite long scenes - mainly because I still get seduced into writing six lines where one and a half will do. ---->>>

The printed word is no longer as in demand as when I was of the age of pupils or even at the age of the teachers teaching them. ---->>>

Writing a new play shouldn't be seen as a mystery belonging to a priesthood, but as a challenge, a technical challenge, just to get into it. ---->>>

I'm good at being funny. ---->>>

I've voted in every election - not always for the same political party and never with any degree of enthusiasm. ---->>>

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.

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.

My desk faces the water, and I'm perfectly happy sitting there. I'm never lonely. ---->>>

My work always tried to unite the true with the beautiful; but when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful. ---->>>

'The Importance of Being Earnest' is important, but it says nothing about anything. ---->>>

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

The whole philosophy of modern times is to dissolve distinctions between individuals and deal with them as large collections of people. It's essentially self-interested on the part of authority. ---->>>

That I have the right to express myself freely at all times in all circumstances entails the idea that free speech is a 'basic human right' possessed by each individual, and, as such, trumps the interests of the society or group, including my neighbour. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

There are certain sorts of jokes which have only to do with the substitution of the unexpected word in a familiar context. If you translated something into French and then had it translated back into English by somebody who didn't know the original, you'd lose what was funny. ---->>>

From as long as, literally as far back as I can remember I've liked puns, word jokes, I can literally recall looking at a comic at the age of six or seven and I remember what I enjoyed and what it was precisely and how the joke worked. ---->>>

In the theater there is often a tension, almost a contradiction, between the way real people would think and behave, and a kind of imposed dramaticness. ---->>>

Theater in New York is nearer to the street. In London, you have to go deep into the building, usually, to reach the place where theater happens. On Broadway, only the fire doors separate you from the sidewalk, and you're lucky if the sound of a police car doesn't rip the envelope twice a night. ---->>>

Even when the writing seems very frivolous, I'm puritanical. I don't mean my subject matter. It's that I'm almost pathologically incapable of leaving something when I'm not quite happy with it. ---->>>

For me, the reputation for teaching language in general, and East European languages most particularly, gave Glasgow University, and by reflection the country, a distinction. ---->>>

I was interested by the idea that artists working in a totalitarian dictatorship or tsarist autocracy are secretly and slightly shamefully envied by artists who work in freedom. They have the gratification of intense interest: the authorities want to put them in jail, while there are younger readers for whom what they write is pure oxygen. ---->>>

One of the nice things about the world of filmmaking is that you make friends in the business. Sometimes directors feel a script needs something, but they're not sure what it is, so they show it to a friend; if the friend is a writer, he ends up kicking around with that script for a while. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

When you try to grasp the way the Western world is going, you see that we are on a ratchet towards a surveillance state, which is coming to include the whole population in its surveillance. This is our reward for accepting the restraints on the way we live now. ---->>>

You can't but know that if you can capture the emotions of the audience as well as their minds, the play will work better, because it's a narrative art form. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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.

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.

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. ---->>>

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.

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 idea that public safety, the safety of the innocent, is an absolute which trumps every other consideration, is tacitly abandoned in the way we live. ---->>>

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.' ---->>>

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 once did a radio program with a famous materialist, that is to say a scientist who believed that absolutely everything was physical and that all emotions were reductive to little electrical impulses in your neurons. And I found that I didn't believe that. But what the emotions really are, I don't have an alternative theory.

I once did a radio program with a famous materialist, that is to say a scientist who believed that absolutely everything was physical and that all emotions were reductive to little electrical impulses in your neurons. And I found that I didn't believe that. But what the emotions really are, I don't have an alternative theory.

My father was a doctor in Moravia, in the south of the country. There were a number of Jewish doctors in the hospital there, and at a certain point - almost too late, really, but in time - they were all sent overseas by their employer. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

Pink Floyd are one of a handful of bands I've listened to a lot and whose concerts I've been to. I love the experience. I don't dance; I just jig up and down like everybody else. ---->>>

The thing that happens remarkably often is that the people who are writing a dissertation believe they need to speak to me in order to do their dissertation. They need to interview me. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end? ---->>>

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. ---->>>

I'm vaguely embarrassed by myself sometimes. ---->>>

Revolution is a trivial shift in the emphasis of suffering. ---->>>

I like pop music. I consider rock 'n' roll to be a branch of pop music. ---->>>

I write for film or, in this case, television when I haven't got a play cooking. ---->>>

I burn with no causes. ---->>>

I'm a conservative kind of person. I don't think rightwing is quite the same thing. But I acknowledge my conservatism of temperament. ---->>>

Get me inside any boardroom and I'll get any decision I want. ---->>>

I barely remembered my father; I'm confused between genuine memory and the few photographs that survived. ---->>>

The fact is, I loved being English. I was very happy to be turned into an English schoolboy. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

A writer doesn't really have much of a function on a movie set. ---->>>

Although I don't examine myself in this respect, I would say, off the top of my head, that I've come to acknowledge my Czechness more as I get older. ---->>>

Any revival in which I am involved is liable to change. ---->>>

'Arcadia' is obviously a play that's got interesting things in it that are perhaps quite hard to grasp. ---->>>

Fatherlessness didn't strike me as being an event. It was a state of life. ---->>>

I am aware, as everybody has to be, that there's more competition for one's attention nowadays. ---->>>

I cannot say that I write with any social objective. One writes because one loves writing, really. ---->>>

I don't feel like a Londoner. ---->>>

I don't look at my work in a critical or analytical way; I just don't think of myself objectively. It doesn't interest me. ---->>>

I get the impression sometimes that a play arrives in a sequence of events that I have no control over. ---->>>

I think I give the impression of being a romantic, and I think inside I'm quite severe. But some might say they had the opposite impression of me.

I think I give the impression of being a romantic, and I think inside I'm quite severe. But some might say they had the opposite impression of me.

It takes a lot of effort to be vibrant. ---->>>

'Shakespeare in Love' was a particularly happy film. ---->>>

Well I believe in the desirability of an optimal society. ---->>>

Chekhov was capable of casually tossing off deplorable comments in his letters, combined with a very modern anger against anti-Semitism. ---->>>

Childhood is Last Chance Gulch for happiness. After that, you know too much. ---->>>

Directors sometimes have good ideas that I wished I'd had, not on rewriting but simply on staging. ---->>>

I actually went to an Oasis concert. I thought they were a brilliant songwriting band. ---->>>

I can be affectionate about a lot of things without watching them. ---->>>

I just happen to know quite a lot of what happened in Czechoslovakia between 1968 and the fall of Communism. ---->>>

I like trying to create a spark through a collaboration between me and the audience. ---->>>

I think journalism is important. ---->>>

I would count myself as a friend of Vaclav Havel. ---->>>

I'm not interested in clothes; I just like them. ---->>>

Rewriting isn't just about dialogue; it's the order of the scenes, how you finish a scene, how you get into a scene. ---->>>

Very often in Chekhov, where he exhibits a little bit of human behavior that you recognize as true, you give a little laugh. It's like a reflex. ---->>>

Everybody I know is writing plays twice a year. It's sort of making me feel I am not up to much. ---->>>

I don't act, I don't direct, I don't design. ---->>>

I really just like to be at a desk. ---->>>

I think I'm a difficult conventional writer. ---->>>

I went to an English school and was brought up in English. So I don't feel Czech. ---->>>

I'm aware of my old plays and occasionally think about them, but I'm much more anxious about finding the next play. ---->>>

Life in a box is better than no life at all... I expect. ---->>>

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.' ---->>>

Nobody would be killed on the roads if the speed limit were 10 miles an hour. ---->>>

One feels that the past stays the way you left it, whereas the present is in constant movement; it's unstable all around you. ---->>>

People think I'm very nice, you know. And I'm not as nice as they think. ---->>>

The more doors there are for you to open, the better the play. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

The truth of the matter is that I used to be much more - as it were - shy. Now I don't care! ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

If I see an actor in a role that is really terrifying, no matter how many times I meet him socially, I'm still frightened of him. I think he's going to hit me. ---->>>

In the period before the arrival of Mrs. Thatcher, politics had been in such low esteem. Everything was so hedged, so mealy-mouthed. Then along came this woman who seemed to have no manners at all and said exactly what she thought. Everyone's eyes were popping and their jaws were dropping, and I really enjoyed that. ---->>>

I'm not a theoretician about playwriting, but I have a strong sense that plays have to be pitched - the scene, the line, the word - at the exact point where the audience has just the right amount of information. It's like Occam's razor. ---->>>

If I had been asked to write 1,200 words for a newspaper tomorrow, on any subject, I would just do it rather than leave a white hole in the page. And I think it's a very healthy attitude to take to writing anything. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

In 2005, I got an email from Belarus Free Theatre. They were emailing playwrights in America and England announcing their existence and saying they would like support from us. I wrote back and asked if they wanted us to visit. They said, 'Yes, we'd love that.' ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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?' ---->>>

People have quite a simple idea about 'Anna Karenina.' They feel that the novel is entirely about a young married woman who falls in love with a cavalry officer and leaves her husband after much agony, and pays the price for that. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

When I was in my teens, I was very, very keen on being the author of a book. What the book was was secondary. I wanted it to be in hardback. I didn't care how thick or thin it was, and I didn't actually care what it was about. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

I consider myself to be a very fortunate person and to have led a very fortunate life. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

I think that the present is worth attention, one shouldn't sacrifice it to future conceptions of, of this future or that future. ---->>>

Hotel rooms inhabit a separate moral universe. ---->>>

I don't feel that I belong anywhere. Or rather, if there's a place I belong, I don't feel I'm there. ---->>>

I don't think Stoppardian has a precise definition. ---->>>

I feel overestimated. ---->>>

I have a spasm of envy for the person that was killed by a falling bookcase, as long as it doesn't happen prematurely. ---->>>

I read for interest and enjoyment, and when I cease to enjoy it I stop. ---->>>

It is better of course to know useless things than to know nothing. ---->>>

My brain cells are dying in their trillions. ---->>>

Back in the East you can't do much without the right papers, but with the right papers you can do anything The believe in papers. Papers are power. ---->>>

I don't find it easy to think of good stuff to write about. ---->>>

I've got no interest in educating or instructing people. ---->>>

It is better to be quotable than to be honest. ---->>>

Like most writers, I just create because I have a story to tell, really. ---->>>

Lou Reed was a hero because he was an anti-hero. ---->>>

My life is sectioned off into hot flushes, pursuits of this or that. ---->>>

One always likes to think that other countries are not like one's own. ---->>>

Personally, I read reviews because I'm interested by them, but they don't have utility for me. ---->>>

Schepisi is the sort of director who could, would, and frequently did phone me whenever he came across a textual problem. ---->>>

The media. It sounds like a convention of spiritualists. ---->>>

Theatre probably originated without texts, but by the time we get to the classical Greek period, theatre has become text-based. ---->>>

To be 64 is appalling, so what does it matter being 65? ---->>>

I adopted England as least as much as England adopted me. ---->>>

I always loved rock 'n' roll. ---->>>

I am as miserable as anyone - sometimes. ---->>>

I am good at being shown something and counterpunching. ---->>>

I am not somebody who meets a man or a woman somewhere and feels like that is an incredible character that I must write into a play. ---->>>

I can't remember what my first script was. ---->>>

I don't respond well to the Olympic noise, which is the noise of nationalistic triumphalism. ---->>>

I like the notion of theater as recreational. ---->>>

I seem to be failing in my intention to be as boring as I possibly can be for self-protection. ---->>>

I take every possible side. ---->>>

I was delighted to not go to university. I couldn't wait to be out of education. ---->>>

I write out of my intellectual experience. ---->>>

I'm a playwright who gets involved in movies when I'm not writing a play. ---->>>

I'm a very boring person. ---->>>

I'm very garrulous, but I don't say anything. ---->>>

I'm very unhappy about my entire life if my writing is going wrong. ---->>>

If an idea's worth having once, it's worth having twice. ---->>>

If I hadn't left Czechoslovakia, I would have been dead. ---->>>

If I wanted to change the world, the last thing I would do is write a play. ---->>>

In my mind, I always knew what my father looked like. ---->>>

In the end, one has to feel lucky that things fell out O.K. I've felt that all the years I've been writing plays. ---->>>

It's better to be quotable than to be honest. ---->>>

It's so great in the theater when everyone catches up on the truth. ---->>>

Like almost everything else from the West, the Romantic Revolution arrived late in Russia. ---->>>

Other people's lives come at us without a backstory most of the time. The present is like that. ---->>>

Theater is still a medium which attracts young writers. You'd think that it would be all over by now, with television and film. But it's not. ---->>>

There are many, many more small theater spaces than there were when I was starting out. ---->>>

There are too many things I find it difficult to say 'no' to. ---->>>

To be in love with Debo Devonshire is hardly a distinction. ---->>>

When I was 20, the idea of having a play on anywhere was just beyond my dreams. ---->>>

A publisher many years ago asked if I'd like to write a novel for £50. And I said, 'Absolutely.' ---->>>

After all these years, I definitely associate having a pen in my hand with having an ashtray just out of eye line. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

Embarrassingly enough, I often can't remember how I came to write something. ---->>>

I don't believe that we evolved moral psychology; it just doesn't seem plausible to me as a biological phenomenon. ---->>>

I don't draw on my inner life in my work. ---->>>

I don't even know what my voice is to this day. ---->>>

I don't know that I want to share all my most intimate secrets. ---->>>

I flinch when I see my name in the newspapers. ---->>>

I have two garden parties a year to avoid going out to dinner. ---->>>

I like plays where people talk a lot. Conversation is sustained. Argument is sustained. ---->>>

I proudly tell people, 'I have no computer,' so as not to be ashamed of having no computer. ---->>>

I think I enlist comedy to a serious purpose. ---->>>

I think of myself as a theater animal instead of an intellectual animal. ---->>>

I think probably I've been influenced by Chekhov and Walt Disney, if you see what I mean. ---->>>

I think theater ought to be theatrical. ---->>>

I wanted to be in the theater. It is simply the way I felt. ---->>>

I wish I could remember how to write a play. I can't remember how they happened. ---->>>

I'm attracted to the past. ---->>>

I'm not that taken with Freudian perspectives. They seem to be overcomplicated. ---->>>

If I am on a journey where I only have time to read one-and-a-half books, I never know which one-and-a-half I'll feel like reading. So I bring eight. ---->>>

If you don't know what is being said, the rest of the actor's work is wasted. ---->>>

One doesn't want one's democracy to behave like a dictatorial or fascistic police. One doesn't. ---->>>

Somebody who likes to do my plays is a good director for them. ---->>>

The days of the digital watch are numbered. ---->>>

The fact is that people are attracted to new work and by new work. ---->>>

What Tolstoy is on about is that carnal love is not a good idea. ---->>>

When Auden said his poetry didn't save one Jew from the gas chamber, he'd said it all. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

With plays that require any kind of reading program, I'm reading for a couple of years before using the material. ---->>>

You are the plays you write. How on earth could you write them otherwise? They're projections of your own predilections. ---->>>

You don't often get a proposal to do Tolstoy for a really interesting director - that's easy to say yes to. ---->>>

You should not translate for more than two hours at a time. After that, you lose your edge, the language becomes clumsy, rigid. ---->>>

As a playwright, you can cover a lot of waterfront without being able to hold your own against an expert in any of those areas. I have no illusions about that. ---->>>

For a long time I managed to think two things simultaneously, that I am actually a good playwright, and that the next time I write a play I will be revealed as someone who is no good at all. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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 feel that when I began writing, I had a need to know more about the play before I got into it. I think that's the way I was thinking. But my actual experience is that the best way to find out what the structure is, is by writing the play out laterally. You just have got to be brave enough to start without knowing where you are going.

I feel that when I began writing, I had a need to know more about the play before I got into it. I think that's the way I was thinking. But my actual experience is that the best way to find out what the structure is, is by writing the play out laterally. You just have got to be brave enough to start without knowing where you are going.

I like dialogue that is slightly more brittle than life. I have always admired and wished to write one of those 1940s film scripts where every line is written with a sharpness and economy that is frankly artificial. ---->>>

In Chekhov, everything blends into its opposite, just fractionally, and this is sort of unsettling. And that's why you end up 100 years later asking, 'Is that moment tragic or comic?' ---->>>

It was a different planet in 1967, the Broadway theatre. It had a little ashtray clamped to the back of every seat and the author got 10% of the gross. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

One of the reasons why there are so many versions of Chekhov is that translations date in a way that the original doesn't; translations seem to be of their time. ---->>>

The whole excitement for writing anything is quite intense. And for a day or two, you think you've done everything extremely well. The problems start on the third day, and continues for the rest of your life. ---->>>

As a child, I was airlifted out of the path of the Nazis. Unfortunately, I was parachuted into the path of the Japanese, but then I was airlifted again to India. ---->>>

Chekhov directors and Chekhov actors love working on his plays because there seems to be no end to what you can find out about the micro-narrative when you're investigating a text. ---->>>

I don't want to come over as some boringly self-deprecating person. But I don't see myself as a groundbreaking writer in the way plays are structured. ---->>>

I have about a dozen cassettes lying about which I use in random order. Very often, I pick up a cassette to dictate a letter, and I find my voice coming back at me with the lines of plays three years old. ---->>>

I'm not like some other writers: I have no actual urgent need or desire to add to what's written. You write it; if you're lucky, it's performed, and that's the end of the whole thing. ---->>>

I'm not one of those writers who insist they don't read reviews and don't care much about them. I do read them, and I do care about them, and they're not always what you want them to be in an ideal world. ---->>>

I've never really worked out this thought, and I don't know if I'm really conscious of it, but I can see there's an attraction about writing about a period that's over and isn't going to change colour while you look at it. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

If you let the plot be determined by what you feel is in the character's mind at that point, it may not turn out to be a very good play, but at least it will be a play where people are behaving in a kind of truthful way. ---->>>

It's really hard to talk about writing, and I'm usually conscious if I'm misleading people or misleading the questioner, because the problem with writing is the next line. ---->>>

My family was in Singapore when the Japanese War started. We were in Singapore at the time of Pearl Harbor, and by the beginning of 1942, the Japanese invasion of Burma and Singapore had started. ---->>>

Possibly because I did start off as a journalist, my starting point has always been that you've got to keep an audience with you. Whatever you're doing, you always want a script to be a page-turner. It's very important never, ever, to feel above that. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

You end up going to school plays quite a bit as a parent, there are a lot of kids who are doing the job as well as they can, but there's always one or two who seem much more at home in the world of impersonation. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: English
Born: 07-03, 1937
Birthplace:
Die:
Occupation: Dramatist
Website:

Sir Tom Stoppard OM CBE FRSL (born Tomáš Straussler; 3 July 1937) is a Czech-born British playwright and screenwriter, knighted in 1997. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (wikipedia)