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From: David_Lebling@avid.com
Subject: (urth) Etymology of "Green Room"
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 98 15:59:36 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]


Quotation from "Return of the Straight Dope," by Cecil Adams:

"Legend has it that the green room, also styled greenroom or green-room,
goes back to the Elizabethan era, when the actors lolled away the time
between entrances on the lawn behind the theater, or "on the green."
Alas, like so much else in show biz, this appears to be a crock.
According to my OED, the earliest known usage of green room was in 1701.
One plausible theory is that the green room was originally painted green
to rest the aching peepers of the actors, who were bleary-eyed from the
bright stage lights."

I find it amusing that the Autarch's green room is just like the one in
the legend Adams finds unlikely.

I suspect Adams' "plausible" explanation is as unlikely as the legend --
actors had all the social status of sewer rats back then, and it's
doubtful anyone would have gone to the trouble of painting a room a
restful color for their pleasure.  I'd tend to suspect that there was an
important theater, probably in London, whose green room was
coincidentally green, and the name became attached.


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