Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A few words from Liviu Ciulei

I was rummaging around the house yesterday when I came across a few pieces of paper that my wife had pressed between the pages of our Riverside Shakespeare edition.

They were quotes from Liviu Ciulei during his tenure at the Guthrie. Heather got a copy of them from a stage manager when she worked with him at NYU (Heather played Nora in Ciulei's DOLL'S HOUSE and later was part of his NYU version of WOYZECK; she also played Celia in AS YOU LIKE IT when he directed it for THE ACTING COMPANY).

I thought they were worth posting.
Whatever you cut nobody can boo.

Words shouldn't be faster than the thought. Only the thought creates reality.


On AS YOU LIKE IT:
It is a very hard play and we have so very little time, so we must go very slowly.

Righteousness is in the jawbone.

To see the thoughts. THAT is the great spectacle of theatre.

Hamlet is a very difficult role - 5 acts, no pockets. What do you do with your hands?

Sometimes you have to create a little scandal to get what you want.

Take the holes out of the cheese.

We have to pay attention to the small logics. We have to help the audience.

The secret of good lighting is not to light the feet.

This moment is Turgenev, not Dostoyevsky.

I like what you do. You do it very well. Cut it.

You cry here. You cry there. Symmetrical crying, please.

But you can't stand there, like that. They'll fire me. At least they should.

Don't look - SEE.

You are just wasting your tongue.

Each line is a thousand shades of grey.

You'll meet a lot of directors who want to impose their own imagination on top of the play without regard for the logic of the play. Sometimes they are lucky and they get a good play. But rarely. The modern theatre has too many examples of such directors.

Muslin doesn't inspire me.

Acting means thinking with someone else's mind.

Those little things without importance which count enormously much.

I think it's time for another script intervention.

The shoes will tell me what to do.

Sometimes I'm wrong. If I'm not ever wrong, I'm not learning anything.

If you are talented but not intelligent, be a poet. If you are intelligent but not talented, be a playwright. If you are talented and intelligent, be a novelist. If you are not talented and not intelligent, be a critic.

And my favorite...

You see, they didn't have a television, so instead, they lived.

This is a production photo of Heather in THE GLASS MANAGERIE, the same season she played Ciulei's Celia. Also pictured is Danny Schwartz. (yes)

8 comments:

Mark said...

Thanks for this. I'd love to see more things like this in the blogosphere and am now inspired to dig out some of my notes from hearing various people speak.

Malachy Walsh said...

Some day I'll put together my notes from Robert Woodruff, Eduardo Machado and Anne Bogart... but that may take some time!

danniboi said...

Wow! That Brings back memories. The Glass Menagerie was my favorite play that I performed in. It was a joy working with Heather. She's a great Actor.

-Danny Swartz

Malachy Walsh said...

It looks like I've misspelled your name!

Sorry about that.

I'll sent the good words on to H and she said, Danny! in a way that made me just a little jealous.

Obviously, she has the same admiration for you.

Chris De Camillis said...

Thanks for this post. I found it while scanning for Liviu. I was the Sm on that tour with Heather and Danny. Liviu was my first Romanian. My work with Liviu gave me the groundwork to deal with the likes of Serban and Woodruff. Thanks for sharing his genius

Malachy Walsh said...

Chris... Heather says hello. And that you are a great man. Just email me if you feel like it (through the profile).

J.P. said...

Lovely bit of bloggery, that! I read a review by Robert Cohen that mentioned Liviu Ciulei at the Guthrie, and when I googled him, I found this. Quite nice indeed, thank you for sharing.

-J.P.

Malachy Walsh said...

J.P. Thanks. And your welcome. I find I return to Liviu's words here much more often than I thought I would when I originally posted them. I've found them to be truly inspirational and enlightening.... and as always, I have my wife to thank for showing me the way.