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Limelight and after. The education of an actress

by Claire Bloom



Page 5 - 3 marzo 2020
My grandmother was in awe of my grandfather, and probably because of the profound dominance of her father and the low esteem in which women seem to have been held in her orthodox household, was nervous and frightened of men generally.


Page 9 - 3 marzo 2020
We believed [...] that the theater was a place of importance.


Page 21 - 3 marzo 2020
After a few weeks we learned to distinguish between the sounds of a German and an English plane.


Page 25 - 3 marzo 2020
She didn't know which way to turn, except to something uncertain and unknown.


Page 25 - 3 marzo 2020
The journey will take about ten days and began, as many things, large and small, do in Britain, on a cold, grey, wet day.


Page 46 - 15 marzo 2020
In June 1944 the Germans introduced us to their new invention, the pilotless plane or V-1. The first night they were ominously different from what we had grown used to. The next morning we read in the papers that these were the first of the radar-guided missiles that Hitler had promised England, the "buzz-bomb." You heard the engine, a very distinctive sound – something like the engaged signal of the telephone – then it cut out, and you count ten. If you were still alive, it had fallen elsewhere.


Page 53 - 15 marzo 2020
His eyes were astonishingly blue, attractive and deeply calculating. One felt one's capabilities - intellectual and sexual – summed up by them in a moment.


Page 55 - 15 marzo 2020
There was a young, attractive Welsh actor in the company, whom I had a crush on, but so did all the other women in the company and half the girls in Oxford.


Page 59 - 15 marzo 2020
My father's gambling instinct [...] has always been an ingredient in my character, and for years I seemed to win every time.


Page 61 - 15 marzo 2020
Possibly he was neither a great actor nor a great dancer; beyond any doubt he was a great "homme du théâtre".


Page 71 - 15 marzo 2020
We started rehearsals. I was rehearsing with not one, but two Hamlets, and with each alternatively I thought myself in love.


Page 71 - 15 marzo 2020
The part seemed easily within my grasp: to love desperately, to be rejected, to go mad, and to die.


Page 72 - 15 marzo 2020
In the audience were both my mother and the critics.


Page 75 - 15 marzo 2020
I sat by the phone and waited. For home? For anyone and everyone: [...] I waited for my big break or for any little crumbs.


Page 93 - 15 marzo 2020
I wanted now to return to New York even if I didn't get the role in limelight. I was convinced that the only exciting future I could ever have would be there.


Page 94 - 15 marzo 2020
After two months I began to forget my disgrace, sometimes for as long as an hour at a time.


Page 98 - 15 marzo 2020
I thought, Wife of a genius? Another possibility for myself.


Page 102 - 16 marzo 2020
Nothing was left to chance. There was no such thing as chance. There was only his genius.


Page 107 - 16 marzo 2020
What Chaplin brought to the screen was passionate emotion.


Page 111 - 16 marzo 2020
Melissa was playful and flirtatious with Chaplin and he responded with pleasure. Had I not been so polite and respectful, I realised, I would have pleased him more. Too late now.


Page 123 - 16 marzo 2020
I could lose all the spontaneity and stand outside myself like my own most hostile critic, judging my every utterance with cold contempt. What "stage fright" means to me is just a sense of separation between actress and self.


Page 124 - 16 marzo 2020
Try to relax by deep and steady breathing. Marie-Antoinette on the way to the guillotine must have felt the same.


Page 125 - 3 aprile 2020
It is not a matter of learning over the years to shake off tension, but of learning to bear the tension until it is at its strongest and one is self-propelled onto the stage like an arrow that flies straight and true.


Page 127 - 3 aprile 2020
The purpose of the critical notice is to form the judgment of the audience and not to educate the actor.


Page 149 - 3 aprile 2020
When you're still in your twenties and come into the sphere of such a woman, you were influenced.


Page 153 - 3 aprile 2020
Finally, all acting technique aims for the same results: to get you into a psychological position where you can release your intuitive knowledge of life, however large or small. Any technique that doesn't do that for you comes out his mannerisms.


Page 158 - 3 aprile 2020
I can't earn a living in the theater – nobody can.


Page 159 - 3 aprile 2020
All kinds of people become actors.


Page 160 - 3 aprile 2020
There are actors who are simple and open, people whose complexity you only really see on the stage, and there are actors who have so many sides that it's only on the stage that they can put themselves together and feel some unified sense of being for a few hours each night.


Page 160 - 3 aprile 2020
A character emerges on a stage who, to the public, is you and yet not you.


Page 161 - 3 aprile 2020
People who were rather unsure of themselves as themselves were very sure of themselves when they were being someone else.


Page 161 - 3 aprile 2020
The kind of actors I felt closest to are those who've sought in acting a way of participating in literature.


Page 164 - 3 aprile 2020
Steiger used to put it very simply: "Acting isn't acting, it's interacting."


Page 165 - 3 aprile 2020
To be a loving sister on the stage you need a brother who needs your love; to be flirtatious, entertaining, and seductive, you need a man worth the effort.


Page 166 - 3 aprile 2020
If I laughed enough and enchanted him enough, all the bad things would magically just disappear.


Page 169 - 4 aprile 2020
There actually are such things as a bad audience and a good audience.


Page 170 - 4 aprile 2020
What do you get from a good audience is silence – not the silence of sleep or lethargy, but the silence of concentration. You can tell the difference.


Page 173 - 4 aprile 2020
I thought that America was an open society and that anything could happen to me there.


Page 178 - 4 aprile 2020
I would never have reservations about anyone else's doing what they passionately want to do.