Robert Wilson Quotes.
Everything in Wagner’s work – the music, the acting, the staging – stemmed from the text. Everything served to interpret the text.
What interested me was dance – the way that it was constructed with time-space constructions, and that it was abstract. I always thought: ‘Why couldn’t theater be that way? Or an opera?’
If you take a Baroque commode and put a Baroque clock on top of it, maybe it is not so interesting as when you put a computer on top of it. Then you see both items in a new way.
I think that opera in Europe is 30 years ahead of America. There is a broader range of material presented to the public. They value contemporary opera.
What was very interesting to me about Clementine Hunter’s work is that she couldn’t read or write, and she has recorded history of the plantation life and the southern part of the U.S. – the cotton harvests, pecan picking, washing clothes, funerals, marriages – in pictures.
I think by drawing, so I’ll draw or diagram everything from a piece of furniture to a stage gesture. I understand things best when they’re in graphics, not words.
It’s important that we have the traditional operas and the repertory, but we should also have something new.
There hasn’t been a great romance in my life.
The French, not the Americans, commissioned ‘Einstein on the Beach.’
All theater is dance.
Yes, I’ve been in love, but I guess I’m too involved with myself and my work. I think I’m in love with my work, and I’m in love with the people I work with.
Light is architectural. It is sculptural.
When you’re playing King Lear, you have to have a little humour, or you will have no tragedy when the king dies.
I think it’s just my nature. I can’t work on one thing. I have to work on many things.
I always thought of the English landscape as being English gardens.
I don’t see much difference between living and working. I think living is a part of my work. People often say, ‘How can you work so much?’ I don’t think about it as work. I think of it as a way to live.
Counterpoint is difficult. I have been doing it since the beginning of my career. But it is not just taking any opposite. It is finding the right opposite.
I’m an artist, not a philosopher.
I met a 13-year-old black child, Raymond, who had never been to school and had never learnt any words, yet it seemed to me that he was intelligent. It became apparent after a short period that Raymond thought in terms of visual signs and movements.
I had dinner with Marlene Dietrich in the early 1970s. I went to pick her up and she had someone with her, a dreadful man. He was writing a book about her, and he said to her, ‘You’re so cold when you perform,’ and she said, ‘You didn’t listen to the voice.’ She said the difficulty was to place the voice with the face.
By giving the leadership to the private sector in a capitalistic society, we’re going to measure the value of art by how many products we can sell.
When we look back at the Mayans or ancient Egypt, we look at their art.
My theater is slow and calm, yet my life is fast and hectic, going in all directions.
When works get too intellectual, they lose their intensity.
I don’t see anyone for the first hour and a half that I’m awake. I don’t like to talk, and I don’t like to hear any sounds. People know not to bother me! I use that time to read, and make lists and notes of things I have to do later in the day.
There are schools teaching ‘stage decoration’ as a subject, and they actually call it that. I say: ‘Burn those schools!’
One of the few things that will remain of this time is what artists are doing. They are the journal and the diary of our time.
Some years ago, I was invited to speak in Houston, Texas. They said I was a founder of ‘postmodern theatre’. So I said to my office, ‘This is ridiculous for me to go and speak about postmodern theatre when I don’t know what it means, but… they’re paying me a lot of money, so I’ll go.’
Chairs are like sculpture.
If you see the sunset, does it have to mean something? If you hear the birds singing does it have to have a message?
My tax dollar, which goes to New York State Council on the Arts, is by and large only spent to fund people from the state of New York! And you want to be the cultural capital of the world?
I did a masterclass at the Juilliard and asked the students, ‘Can you stand?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘Can you walk?’ ‘Sure.’ They couldn’t. They had never really thought about it.
As a very young man growing up in Texas, usually I got a shotgun or cowboy boots for Christmas.
My work is formal, not based on psychology.
I never thought about the relationship of my mother, my family, to the content of my work.
I try to present something that is full of time. Not timeless, but full of time. I never like a work where we try to update it, but it’s still not interesting to see a work that is dated. If one is successful, then a work can be full of time. And time is very complex.
Actors always start with the voice and language. That’s wrong. They should start with the body. The body is an actor’s most important resource.
New York is very provincial. They’re very cut-off; they don’t have an awareness of so much that is going on in the world.
Most artists don’t understand what they do, and I don’t think we have to. Other people do that better – they understand what I do better than I do!
If we lose our culture, we lose our memory.
When I was 12 years old, I went to Natchitoches, La.; it was summer vacation with my family. We visited a plantation, Melrose. And I met an Afro-American woman who was a painter. I already had some idea of what I wanted to do in life, and one of the things that interested me was painting.
At the end of the 1960s, I was part of the downtown theatrical movement in New York that was making work in alleyways, garages, gyms, churches, non-traditional spaces. The idea was to get away from the illusion of the conventional theatre. But then I thought, what’s wrong with illusion?
I think that in my plays you can come in for 20 minutes and get something out of it. I’d like to do a play that would run for days. I don’t think time is that important. Nature doesn’t hurry the sky, the changing clouds and sunsets.
I say I like to be alone, yet I am always surrounded by people.
I had no idea I was going to have a career in the theater. I did not plan it.
To me, what is important in the theater is that we don’t want to make a conclusion. We don’t want to make a statement, don’t want to say what something is. We want to ask, ‘What is it?’
I collect rocks from all over the world. I have a ring of stones that date to 3500 B.C. It’s like a little Stonehenge.
My work has always dealt with a kind of space that allows one to daydream.
The reason you work as an artist is to stay open and ask questions.
The landscape of Texas is in all my work. It’s that light; it’s that sky.
Christopher Knowles, Buechner, Heiner Mueller, Burroughs, Chekhov, Shakespeare – it’s all one body of work.
I’m supposed to be the guy who hates naturalism.
I usually stay in on Sunday nights. I’m not much of a party person.
I think people are looking for an alternative to the fast pace of everyday life and entertainment.
I grew up in a town where there were no galleries, no museums, no theaters – a very religious, ultraconservative community.
The mind is a muscle.
I never studied theatre; I learned it by doing it. If I had studied theatre, I would not be making the kind of theatre I am making.