Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Green Room

Isaac Hayes has been a great venue for our music. While on break we get to chill out in the "green room". The question finally came up the other night, "why do they call it the green room?" I found several different answers, but this kept popping up on my research.
First, I'll address the room. Originally, the term referred to an off stage room where performers could rest while waiting for their cues. The first reference in use was in a play by Thomas Shadwell called "The True Widow"[1], performed at Dorset Garden Theatre of London in 1678. It mentioned a green room behind the scenes. A later example, in a book called Love Makes Man, written by the actor and dramatist Colley Cibber and published in 1701 was a little more clear in saying: “I do know London pretty well, and the Side-box, Sir, and behind the Scenes; ay, and the Green-Room, and all the Girls and Women Actresses there”. Cibber was closely associated with a different theatre, London's Royal Theatre on Drury Lane, Drury Lane? yep Drury Lane.

But, why the color green? It was not by accident because green was common in alot of theatres.
This is where I found a bunch of unsupported answers and guesses. Some thought because of colors associated w/ different royal families[2]and their actor troupes. Weak. Some found the color green to be soothing and relaxing, hence a break area for the performers. Green also gives the actors' eyes a break from the bright lights. 1700's, bright lights, duh, not hardly. In the limelight? not til the 1840's did that come about. So what gives here? In the 1800's, London theaters were decorated w/ a green curtain, green boxes, a green baize carpet for the tragic heroes to die on and the stage hands wore green jackets when changing stage props between scenes. Maybe just a popular color of the times? A little late, I'd say. Someone might have been misquoted as saying "let's go to the screen room". Whatever!
So the "green room" was already a commonly used term by the 1700's.

We do know it originated in England and when, but just not how.
Today we find green rooms in concert halls, tv studios and other performing places. They're just not all painted GREEN.



Post a Comment

<< Home