August 23, 2007

Green Room

‘Green Room’ is a commonly used word to refer to the dressing room at the place some stage performance. For me it was amazing to know the origin of the word ‘Green Room’. Even you will be astonished!

It’s still wonderful to note that the word ‘Limelight’ is associated with the word ‘Green Room’. During olden days while performing the stage shows, it was a practice to use limestone to get a bright light with some chemical reactions, as there was no electricity. Hence, emerged the term ‘Limelight’. Today we notice that it is being widely used as a synonym to ‘popular’ as ‘he came to limelight’ or ‘she came to limelight’.

Actors and actresses were prone severe headache due to that bright light and chemical reaction. Immediately after their role on the stage, they were made to sit in a room filled with lots of herbs and shrubs and walls painted with green colour to give a soothing effect to their eyes just to make them get rid of their headache. Thus emerged the term ‘Green Room’. Isn’t it amazing?
Note: This piece of information is obtained by Mrs. Anupama. My thanks are due to her.


arby said...
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arby said...

Its good to read the origin of words. There is a lot of joy in understanding these things and it helps us to remember the word in a easy way.
Good work linguphile ...
- a would be etymologist

Santya said...

Nice Thought!

While the green room is now commonly thought of as the place where celebrities wait before being asked pre-arranged questions on television, it originally referred to the off-stage room that actors waited in before storming the boards.
The first written use of the phrase comes from 1701, indicating that it was in the theatrical vernacular during the 16th century. DeProverbio, a scholarly journal dedicated to the study of proverbs (or paremiology), posits that it may come from the noble colors worn by early theater companies in honor of their royal patrons.

Michael Quinion's World Wide Words, a wonderful resource that's been around since 1996, notes that archaic slang for the stage is "the green." Hence, the room that's just off the stage may have been designated the "green room." He also debunks the notion put forth by Word Detective that green soothed the eyes of limelight-stunned actors, since candles were used to light early stages.
(limelight wasn't in use until 1840. That is over 100 years after the term green room is first recorded.) Another spurious etymology has it that the green room was where actors were paid in cool, green cash. Think again, because in 1701 actors would have been paid with coin (if at all).

One of the more creative theories presented at the Internet FAQ Consortium is that the green room was commonly used to store stage shrubbery and grass and was therefore a nice soothing place for a Shakespearean actor to adjust his dress and check his wig before heading out to woo Juliet.

Seema said...

arby and santya,

veeral said...

its nice to know--
also if u cud post ur other blogs in english i wud b able to read them--that isif you dont mind them being read
i like ur blogs-even the simple "home" one was a nice thought