From Tom Stoppard

“I am speaking here under the rubric, Technique and Interpretation in the Performing Arts, and if there were ever a title dreamed up to strike me dumb, this one verges on inspiration. It is not that I have any difficulty with the idea of technique. I can see that as clearly as anybody that the notion of technique in, say, rock climbing, is immediately intelligible. But your actual rock climber, as opposed to a critic of rock climbing, would probably describe what he does as climbing up rocks in the way that seems to make the best sense if you don’t want to fall off the rock, and as your actual playwright, rather than a lecturer, I would say that the theater seems to me, on the whole, to be a way of telling stories which are acted out for an audience and which mean pretty much what the audience thinks they mean.

In a while I’ll probably drop this faux naif persona. I’m not even sure myself to what degree it’s a posture. But I don’t think of myself as employing a technique distinguishable from common sense and a common understanding of storytelling. The rest is the hard part.”

– Tom Stoppard, “Pragmatic Theater”, pg. 1

Author: Robert Bettmann

Founder of Day Eight, and the DC Arts Writing Fellowship.