Slings and Arrows

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Slings and Arrows (2003–2006) is an acclaimed Canadian comedy series that follows a group of actors in the fictional New Burbage Festival.

Season 1


Oliver's Dream [101]

Cyril: [singing] Cheer up, Hamlet; chin up, Hamlet; buck up, you melancholy Dane! So your uncle is a cad who murdered Dad and married Mum. That's really no excuse to be as glum as you've become! So wise up, Hamlet; rise up, Hamlet; perk up and sing a new refrain. Your incessant monologizing fills the castle with ennui. Your antic disposition is embarrassing to see. And by the way, you sulky brat, the answer is to be! You're driving poor Ophelia insane. So shut up, you rogue and peasant; grow up, it's most unpleasant; cheer up, you melancholy Dane!

Andy: Go for it, man.
Geoffrey Tennant: “Go for it, man!” These are the words a director likes to hear.

Oliver Welles: What’s the point with having sheep if there’s no bleating? Where’s the charm in that?

[Geoffrey is being evicted from his theater after not paying rent.]
Owner: No! I do not want any trouble! You are crazy! Please.
Cheryl: He’s not crazy.
Geoffrey: Not anymore.
Owner: You attacked me with a knife!
Geoffrey: Oh, that was a prop.

Geoffrey's Return [102]

Richard Smith-Jones: Anna, I can't comfort you. I'm on hold.

[Ellen is talking to Sloan about the death of Oliver Welles.]
Ellen Fanshaw: I always thought he'd grow old and die in the arms of some Jamaican cabana boy. But no, he got run over by a pig truck. Oh God. And I'm alone, just me and my dehydrated chameleon.

Kate McNab: So, so what's going to happen to Hamlet?
Nahum: Hamlet will be Hamlet: An ineffable tragedy of the human spirit that still resonates, even today.

Speaker: It looks a bit like The Boys From Syracuse up here.

[Trying to explain Oliver's will]
Geoffrey Tennant: I assure you I don't want to do anything weird with the head. As a matter of fact it was Oliver himself who requested that his flesh be removed, and that his skull be used in all future productions of Hamlet. So, you see, it's not weird, and, in fact, it is notarized.

Madness In Great Ones [103]

Anna Conroy: [holding Oliver's skull] It's not that heavy at all!
Geoffrey Tennant: It's much lighter without the ego.

Outrageous Fortune [104]

[Geoffrey is in jail after engaging a rival director in a duel.]
Guard: Are you a suicide risk?
Geoffrey Tennant: Isn't everybody?

Richard Smith-Jones: Darren, let me take you to breakfast and we can discuss the incident.
Darren Nichols: You make it sound like an ill-timed fart. I was stabbed! For the love of God!

Richard Smith-Jones: Darren, everybody cries when they get stabbed. There's no shame in that.

[Geoffrey is announcing that he is going to take over production of Hamlet.]
Geoffrey Tennant: My reason may very well be hanging by a thread. Well, my friends, it is my belief that the best things happen just before the thread snaps.

Darren Nichols: I think I'll go to Berlin. They understand me there.

A Mirror Up To Nature [105]


Playing the Swan [106]

Holly Day: Are you a man, Richard?
Richard Smith-Jones: What? [she slaps him]
Holly: Are you a man, or are you just a little puppy-dog who does tricks for cookie-treats?

Geoffrey Tennant: I would've cut my throat, but you're not allowed to do that in front of subscribers.

Jack Crew: I have to do it. I'm an actor, and it's Hamlet. What am I gonna do, walk away? I'd feel like a loser my whole life.
Kate McNab: So you're afraid to do it, but you know you have to, and if you don't, you won't be able to live with yourself.
Jack: Yes!
Kate: Well, I think you can use that onstage.

Geoffrey: You stay in the theater because you don't wanna starve to death? Now that is irony.

[Geoffrey is preparing a nervous Jack for his first performance as Hamlet.]
Geoffrey: Well, forget about perfection! There's nothing more boring than perfection! Imprecision. Fear. This is what gets them to their feet.

Geoffrey: I wanted to throttle a swan. It...seemed sensible at the time.

Season 2


Season's End [201]

Cyril: [singing] Call me superstitious or cowardly or weak, but I'll never play a character whose name one dare not speak. I'll play Hamlet in doublet and hose or either of the Dromios but, sorry, I won't play Mackers. I'll play Richard the Third with a hump and wig, or Henry the Eighth (that selfish pig) but, sorry, I don't do Mackers. Every soul who plays this role risks injury or death, I'd rather sweep the bloody stage than ever do Mac-you-know-who. So gimme King Lear, Cleopatra, Romeo, Juliet, doesn't mattra – I'll play them all for free. But I'd be crackers to take on Mackers. You see, I'm skittish about the Scottish tragedy. (Och, aye.)

Ellen Fanshaw: I'm not talking about people. I hate people just as much as you!

Richard Smith-Jones: What the hell are we going to do? I mean, I know what I'm going to have to do. I'm going to have to go to the Minister of Culture and beg for money like some kind of blind hurdler.

Geoffrey Tennant: I don't believe this! Oliver Welles is dead! I poured him in the river and swans ate him! What do I have to do to get this man out of my life?

Nahum: Is something bothering you?
Geoffrey Tennant: They want me to do Macbeth.
Nahum: Damn it!
Geoffrey Tennant: Why does that bother you?
Nahum: I do not like that play. It teaches us nothing.
Geoffrey Tennant: It teaches us about evil.
Nahum: No! It shows us evil, it's a portrait of a psychopath. Where I come from in Nigeria it is a familiar sight, I've had my fill of psychopaths.

Geoffrey: [after announcing the new season] There will be struggle. There will be sacrifice. There will be tears, there will be the occasional fistfight. And in the end, there will be transformation.

Fallow Time [202]

Geoffrey Tennant: There's not enough fear here. Actors should be frightened for their lives. That's when they do their best work.
Richard: Really?!
Geoffrey: Mm-hmm.
Richard: That's just like normal people!
Geoffrey: Mm-hmm!

Richard Smith-Jones: OK, how would you advertise?
Sanjay: Richard, I don't use that word.
Richard: Advertise?
Sanjay: Yes, that is not what we do here.
Richard: You don't do advertising?
Sanjay: Richard, people are tired of ads in all their forms. They don't believe anything we say and it doesn't work. We at Frog Hammer ask ourselves very simple things. Is it wondrous? Does it move you? Is it culturally authentic? We believe that people are sick of being lied to. If you use truth, you can sell people anything. If you want people to react, to feel, to buy, tell them the truth! The truth is the new lie.
Richard: Fuck it. You're hired.

Richard: So Nadine's neck is broken? Is that what you're saying?
Anna Conroy: Yes!
Richard: We'll have to find a replacement.
Anna: Yes! And her neck is broken! Which is much worse than having to find a replacement director!
Richard: Yes! I'm not being insensitive, Anna! I'm just thinking ahead, OK? Let's send her some flowers, alright? A basket - big. Let's pray she doesn't sue.
Anna: Of course, because that would be truly horrible.
Richard: What? I'm not heartless! I'm just... I'm detail-oriented.

Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair [204]

Sanjay: You know what you should do?
Richard: What?
Sanjay: Go crazy!
Richard: ...I was really hoping you'd say something constructive.

Steeped in Blood [205]

Geoffrey: Look, if this is about Henry...what's done is done. And it's better this way. Jerry knows all the lines. He'll be fine.
Richard: Geoffrey, the only reason that we're selling any tickets at all is because of Henry Breedlove.
Geoffrey: He is defying my direction, he's in another play entirely, and he's infected the whole cast. Now I know you're worried about your job—
Richard: Geoffrey, I am worried about the future of the entire festival. Now: what is the point of putting on a play if no one comes to see it?
Geoffrey: Which would you prefer: an empty house with a great play, or a full house with a piece of garbage?

Birnam Wood [206]

[Nahum has just helped Geoffrey to lock a furious Ellen into her dressing room.]
Ellen Fanshaw: Why are you doing this?!
Nahum: I must confess, I love drama.

Darren Nichols: Look at you, Geoffrey: you look positively disease-free!
Geoffrey: Eh, it's the hair-do.

Season 3


Divided Kingdom [301]

Cyril: [singing] When life takes its toll, when fate treats you bad, you used to be king, but now you've been had, alone with your Fool, you think you'll go mad— it's nice to take a walk in the rain! A stomp through a storm is what I'd advise, when people you trust tell nothing but lies; and kidnap your friend and gouge out his eyes—it's nice to take a walk in the rain! Your older daughters are evil plotters; a pitter-patter shower will keep you sane. When all has been said and all have been slain, it's good to take a walk in the rain, for several hours. Helps to have a howl in the rain, without your clothes on. Nice to take a walk in the rain.

Darren Nichols: I must say, I've fallen in love with the musical genre. It's the art-form of the common man. If you want to communicate something with the proletariat, cover it in sequins and make it sing. It's noisy, vulgar and utterly meaningless—I love it!

Vex Not His Ghost [302]

Andrew McTeague: You know, I just got these fish and I can't, I can't stop looking at them. I find them oddly soothing. Fish live in the now, as they say. We can learn from the fish.

Darren Nichols: [giving direction during rehearsal] Megan, I'm going to stop you there. You're singing to David, the man you love, the man who pays you to have sex with him. Obviously the emotions contained within these relationships are complex.

Darren: Music is manipulative on a level few of us can fully appreciate. I visited a lab in Rotterdam and I saw a chimpanzee driven to a state of sexual ecstasy, simply by listening to a C major seventh chord played over and over. I saw, I saw it with my own eyes.

Darren: Sing the duet by yourself, let's see how that feels.

Geoffrey Tennant: Well, I have a little something that might cheer you up.
Oliver Welles: You found a gun?

That Way Madness Lies [303]

Geoffrey Tennant: I have a responsibility to the entire company, to the festival. This is about theatre ethics.
Oliver Welles: Theatre ethics? That's like saying "whorehouse morals."

Sophie: She puts bread in the fridge. Who puts bread in the fridge?
Paul: Dancers apparently.
Sophie: Bread is big. Bread takes up room.
Paul: It's an insult!
Sophie: It's not like she eats anyway. Have you seen her? Maybe she eats glue. Maybe paste.

Barbara: This is the theater, not a mental ward!
Cyril: This theater?

Ellen: This isn't a sitcom.
Geoffery: Oh well yes actually, it is. I have a broken wang and there is a lizard queen living downstairs.


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