Does a Play Exist Without Performance?

There’s an old saying in some theatrical circles that a play does not exist unless and until is has been performed on a live stage in front of an audience.  You can imagine the heartache that creates for the amateur, but vigilant, Playwright who writes page after page only to have the work discounted in the end analysis by some because there is no final proof of production to validate the effort.  Is that a right and fair way to deal with a written Art in Performance?  Does the actor exist without being staged?  Does the director have a role without filling an empty space?

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