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A Flea Circus

November 13th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The theatre. The theatre. What book of rules says the theatre exists only within some ugly buildings crowded into one square mile of New York City? Or London, Paris or Vienna? Listen, junior, and learn. Want to know what the theatre is? A flea circus. Also opera. Also rodeos, carnivals, ballets, Indian tribal dances, Punch and Judy, a one-man band…all theatre. Wherever there’s magic and make-believe and an audience, there’s theatre. Donald Duck, Ibsen, and The Lone Ranger. Sarah Bernhardt, Poodles Hanneford, Lunt-Fontanne. Betty Grable, Rex the Wild Horse, and Eleanora Duse. All theatre. You don’t understand them. You don’t like them all. Why should you? The theatre’s for everybody – you included, but not exclusively – so don’t approve or disapprove. It may not be your theatre, but it’s theatre for somebody, somewhere. Nothing personal, junior. No offense. It’s just that there’s so much bourgeois in this ivory green room they call the theater sometimes it gets up around my chin.

BILL SAMPSON, All About Eve (1950)

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