Sir: The critics? No, I have nothing but compassion for them. How can I hate the crippled, the mentally deficient, and the dead?

[as a train is leaving a station]

Sir: Stop that train!

[the train stops at once]

Madge: No, I haven't been happy. Yes, it's been worth it.

Norman: [to the ambitious young Irene] Never mind the young Cordelia, ducky. He wants a *light* Cordelia!... It's not youth or talent or star quality he's after, ducky, but a moderate eater!

Madge: It is a disease.

Her Ladyship: What is?

Madge: Hopefulness.

Frank Carrington: Now where was I? Oh yes. So Davenport-Scott said to me...

Oxenby: Do you mind SHUTTING UP?

Frank Carrington: Well! Really!

Sir: 227 Lears... 227 performances of King Lear and I can't remember the first line.

[after the entire cast memorably puts forth excessive effort in trying to make a loud storm for a performance of King Laer]


Sir: There are thousands of children all over this beloved land of ours, scavenging the larders for something sweet. If only they came to me, I could tell them of the one person in England who has an inexhaustible supply of chocolate. It is I who have to carry her on, dead, as Cordelia. It is I who have to lift her up in my arms. Thank Christ, I thought, for rationing. But no, she'd find sugar in a sand dune!

Norman: We all have our little sorrows, ducky; you're not the only one.And the littler you are, the larger the sorrow.You think you love him. What about me?

[repeated line]

Norman: I had a friend...

Sir: Keep your teeth in!

Geoffrey: It's only when I'm nervous

Sir: You will be nervous. I guarantee it.

Norman: My memory is like a policeman. It is never there when you want it.

Oxenby: [after calling for Sir several times to appear on stage] Is he coming or he isn't?

Norman: [angrily] Yes!

Norman: I had a friend...

Sir: Oh by Christ's sake! I'm sick of your friends. A motley crew they are: pathetic, lonely, despairing!

Norman: That's nice, isn't it?

Sir: I beg your pardon. Uncalled for! Count myself as your friend!

Norman: Never despairing!

Sir: I have apologized!

Norman: Never, NEVER despairing! Well perhaps, sometimes at night, or at Christmas, when you can't get a job in a pantomime! But not once inside the building! Never! Pathetic maybe, but not ungrateful. Too mindful of one's lot, as the saying goes. No duke is more privy t'is beauty, he is spring and summer! Here pain is bearable. And never lonely, not here. For he today, that sheds his blood with me... Soft no doubt, sensitive, that's my nature; easily hurt, that's a virtue. I'm not here for reasons of my own either. No-one could accuse me of base motive. I got what I want! I don't need anyone to know it. Inadequate? Yes! But never NEVER, despairing!

Sir: I can't move that which cannot be moved.

Sir: Do you know, they've bombed the Grand Theater, Plymouth?

Norman: And much else of the city, besides.

Sir: I made my *debut* at the Grand Theater, Plymouth!

Norman: They weren't to know.

Sir: [a bombing raid is taking place outside just as the play is about to begin] Get the curtain up this instant! No squadron of fascist Bolsheviks will stop me now!

Sir: [greatly displeased with the cast's efforts backstage to create loud storm noises for a performance of "King Lear"] Where was the storm? I ask for cataracts and hurricanes and you give me trickles and whistles! I demand oak-cleaving thunderbolts and you answer with farting flies! I am the storm!

Sir: Let me rest, Norman. You must stop questioning me. Let me rest. Don't leave me until I'm asleep. Don't leave me alone. I'm a spent force. My days are numbered... Numbered.

Norman: Thank you for helping with the storm, Mr. Oxenby.

Oxenby: I don't know why I did.

Norman: Because we're a band of brothers, that's why, and you're one of us in spite of yourself.

Oxenby: Get stuffed!

Norman: That's not nice.

Sir: Madge, dear, in my will I've left you my press-cutting books.

Madge: I don't want to hear what you've left me in your...

Sir: [cutting her off sharply] And I have something else for you. If possessions can be dear, then this ring is the dearest thing I own. This ring was worn by Edmund Kean in a play whose title is an apt inscription for how I feel, "A New Way to Pay Old Debts". When you talk of it, say "Edmund Kean and I wore it."

Sir: [presses the ring into her hand; she looks uncomfortable] I once had it in mind to give it to you years ago. But you were younger then... I thought you would misunderstand.

Madge: Yes. A ring from a man to a woman... is easily misunderstood.

Sir: [addressing the theater audience during his curtain call, after the performance of "King Lear"] My lords, ladies and gentlemen... Thank you for the manner in which you have received the greatest tragedy in our language. We live in dangerous times. Our civilization is under threat from the forces of darkness. And we humble actors do all in our power to fight as soldiers on the side of right in the great battle. We are animated by no other desire than to take the works of the greatest poet-dramatist who has ever lived to every corner of our beloved island!

[the audience bursts into applause]