Theater Lingo and Lore

I have made a discovery.  Usually, I'm a porr Discoverer, but this one is good.

 

People like catch phrases.

 

Personally, I don't think I have a catch phrase, but most people do.  One place that has an above average number of catch phrases is the theater.  Seriously.

 

For example, "break a leg."  This catch phrase is not nearly a morbid a it might seem to the uneducated.  This phrase really means, "good luck," but theater people say break a leg instead.  This phrase originated back in the olden days of legend in which the grande curtains were raised up and down, instead of opening side to side.  At the bottom of the curtain there was a rod to provide weight. There is some physics-y explanation for this that is unknown to me. Anyway, this rod was known as a leg.  At the end of a show, when the cast came out to bow, the curtain would be raised and the audience would clap. After a few moments the curtain would descend.  Should the audience quite down and leave, the curtain would remain down. If the show was really great, however, the curtain would rise again and the cast would take another bow, repeating the process.  This would go on until the audience got bored.  This raising and lowering of the curtain would caue the leg to break.  So, in the old days, telling someone to break a leg really did mean you wanted them to have a fantastic show.  Now that we have curtains that move side to side this phrase is nonapplicable, but theater people still feel the need to use it.  Also, saying "good luck" is apparantly synonymous with wishing, "bad luck" on a person.

 

 

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