Peter Shaffer

(Sir Peter Levin Shaffer)

Peter Shaffer
Peter Shaffer
  • Born: May 15, 1926
  • Died: June 6, 2016
  • Nationality: British
  • Profession: Playwright

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Sir Peter Levin Shaffer, CBE, was an English playwright and screenwriter. He wrote numerous award-winning plays, of which several were adapted into films.

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A part of me is always envious of people who live in the present and are sustained by a sense of spontaneity. Even dogs have that capacity: they're always wanting to participate in something, and I don't often have that element in me.
And in fact, I think one of the best guides to telling you who you are, and I think children use it all the time for this purpose, is fantasy. Time
Art and literature are my surrogate religions. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Black Comedy is a farce that is played in the dark, as you know, with the lights full on. It's the Chinese convention of reversing light and dark, and exactly where anybody is at any given moment is the play.
But the first published thing I did was a detective story, detective novel, and I did that on my own.
Everything we feel is made of Time. All the beauties of life are shaped by it. Life ;Time
I discover what I mean as I write. That can be both terrifically exciting and very dangerous, because when you look at your words later, you wonder, 'Did I really mean that, or am I just making verbal patterns?'
I made, over the years in Cambridge, several very good American friends, and America appeared to me, a land of promise in every sense of that word, a land of freedom from the inhibitions and restrictions that I felt in England. Freedom & Liberty
I really believe that studying organization, even in the form of studying detective story organization, is very, very valuable for a playwright, a budding playwright.
I think I did have fantasies about being an actor. In fact, I know I did.
I think people nowadays do tend to blame their parents for everything.
I think plays, like books, are endemic. They grow out of the soil of the writer and the place he's writing about. I think, you just can't move them about, you know.
I think possibly the first film that has music as its leading character. Music, Chants & Rapps
I was an accomplice in my own frustration.
I was born in Liverpool in England, and I lived there for the first nine years of my life. Life
I was brought up in an Orthodox Jewish household. I don't think I ever had a single discussion with my parents about faith. It was just something gently imposed. Religion & God
I'd be willing to bet that any incursion throughout history in which the invading country has proclaimed it is bringing benefits to the conquered is based on a lie. History
If London is a watercolor, New York is an oil painting.
In London, 'Equus' caused a sensation because it displayed cruelty to horses; in New York, because it allegedly displayed cruelty to psychiatrists.
It is very, very difficult for a playwright to write a scene in which a young man has his first deep experience of sex with a girl whom he found immensely attractive, is fully satisfied by this event and gets up and blinds a lot of horses.
It's an extraordinary thing about Mozart is that you never tire of him... he never bores me, and he doesn't... not only bore me, that's too strong a word.
I've seen the most remarkable thing. It's in the New York Public Library. They've got the original typescript of 'The Importance of Being Earnest' - all four acts of it.
Librarians as a race tend to be tedious.
My actual childhood, as opposed to my adolescence, was not spent in London.
Our function as playwrights to some extent is to make audiences see with their ears, because films make us see with our eyes much better.
Passion, you see, can be destroyed by a doctor. It cannot be created. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Rehearsing a play is making the word flesh. Publishing a play is reversing the process.
The conquistadors and their followers were very rough people, and they were fixated on gold and silver. They were oblivious to the astonishing achievements of the Inca civilisation.
The rhetoric is the key to the character. It's the verbal music of the piece. Music, Chants & Rapps
There used to be a certain condescension to Mozart. His music was regarded as pleasant. He was a porcelain figure playing a porcelain harpsichord. Music, Chants & Rapps
They look so expectant, and then they look so depressed... that was the other great lesson that The Royal Hunt of the Sun taught me, it was the profundity that masked drama can achieve, that of course, the audience were not seeing masks moving at all.
Things rust, you know, like the heart. My cardiologist said, 'It's a pump; use it - that's the sole advice I've got to give you.' It's the same in playwriting. Don't theorise about it. Do it.
Tragedy, for me, is not a conflict between right and wrong, but between two different kinds of right.
Watching Italian opera, all those male sopranos screeching, stupid fat couples rolling their eyes about. That's not love, it's just rubbish. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
We... our war began September the 3rd 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany, and thereafter the great state of danger in England at that time, with the bombings, necessitated the evacuation of children. Time ;War & Peace
You can't always let people do their own thing.
You never quite know what's going to strike your imagination, or something that won't going to leave you alone, not going to leave alone, and this was one for me.