Quotations From MINNIE MADDERN FISKE


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  • The essence of acting is the conveyance of truth through the medium of the actor's mind and person. The science of acting deals with the perfecting of that medium.
    Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865-1932), U.S. actor. As quoted in Mrs. Fiske: Her Views on Actors, Acting and the Problems of Production, ch. 5, by Alexander Woollcott (1917). Fiske had been a popular stage actor since the age of four (when she used her birth name, Minnie Maddern).

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  • This ... is an age of specialization, and in such an age the repertory theater is an anachronism, a ludicrous anachronism.
    Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865-1932), U.S. actor. As quoted in Mrs. Fiske: Her Views on Actors, Acting and the Problems of Production, ch. 1, by Alexander Woollcott (1917).
  • ...I have never known a "movement" in the theater that did not work direct and serious harm. Indeed, I have sometimes felt that the very people associated with various "uplifting" activities in the theater are people who are astoundingly lacking in idealism.
    Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865-1932), U.S. actor. As quoted in Mrs. Fiske: Her Views on Actors, Acting and the Problems of Production, ch. 1, by Alexander Woollcott (1917).

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  • Above all, ignore the audience ....
    Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865-1932), U.S. actor. As quoted in Actors on Acting, rev. ed., part 13, by Toby Cole and Helen Krich (1970). Said in 1917, to Alexander Woollcott. Fiske, who had been a popular stage actor since she was four, offered this advice to actors.
  • Idealistic producing is safe. Sensibly projected in the theater, the fine thing always does pay and always will.
    Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865-1932), U.S. actor and theatrical producer. As quoted in Mrs. Fiske: Her Views on Actors, Acting and the Problems of Production, ch. 4, by Alexander Woollcott (1917). Fiske had been a popular stage actor since the age of four (when she used her birth name, Minnie Maddern) and, with her husband, was a producer of plays. She claimed that the "finest plays" they had produced had, "with one exception, ... been the ones that made the most money."
  • ... an actor is exactly as big as his imagination.
    Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865-1932), U.S. actor. As quoted in Mrs. Fiske: Her Views on Actors, Acting and the Problems of Production, ch. 3, by Alexander Woollcott (1917).

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  • People whose understanding and taste in literature, painting, and music are beyond question are, for the most part, ignorant of what is good or bad art in the theater.
    Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865-1932), U.S. actor. As quoted in Mrs. Fiske: Her Views on Actors, Acting and the Problems of Production, ch. 1, by Alexander Woollcott (1917).

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  • The great actors are the luminous ones. They are the great conductors of the stage.
    Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865-1932), U.S. actor, playwright. Quoted in Alexander Woollcott, Mrs. Fiske, ch. 5 (1917).
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