Muse of Fire : Reflections on Theatre, Hardback Book

Muse of Fire : Reflections on Theatre Hardback

Edited by Raymond-Jean Frontain

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Acclaimed playwright Terrence McNally's works are characterized by such diversity that critics have sometimes had difficulty identifying the pattern in his carpet.

To redress this problem, In Muse of Fire, Raymond-Jean Frontain has collected McNally's most illuminating meditations on the need of the playwright to first change hearts in order to change minds and thereby foster a more compassionate community.

When read together, these various meditations demonstrate the profound ways in which McNally himself functioned as a member of the theater community-as strikingly original dramatic voice, as generous collaborator, and even as the author of eloquent memorials. These pieces were originally written to be delivered on both highly formal occasions (academic commencement exercises, award ceremonies, memorial services) and as off-the-cuff comments at highly informal gatherings, like a playwriting workshop at the New School.

They reveal a man who saw theater not as the vehicle for abstract ideas or the platform for political statements, but as the exercise of our shared humanity. "Theatre is collaborative, but life is collaborative," McNally says. "Art is important to remind us that we're not alone, and this is a wonderful world and we can make it more wonderful by fully embracing each other. [. . .] I don't know why it's so hard to remind ourselves sometimes, but thank God we've had great artists who don't let us forget. And thank the audiences who support them because I think that those artists' true mission has been to bring the barriers down, break them down; not build walls, but tear them down."

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