6 Common Phrases with a Theatrical Background

Cinema and stage have contributed to a variety of venues that have carried through the years of progression and change. Story lines based on invention and historic creativity, performers surpassing society limitations and ideals that have spurred on individuals to pursue dreams. Its impact has even permeated the English language with well-known phrases.

The following are six common expressions used in the work place and home, school and in general conversation.

PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD.
To “put your best foot forward” dates back to the late 18th century. During this era, also known as the period of the dandy (men who placed stock in their appearance, speech, etc.), male models assumed one leg was more attractive than the other. Bearing this in mind, the model would place their desirable leg first, while leaving the other, more “repulsive” leg in the background. Presently, this phrase is said to those going in for an interview or first day on the job, and so on.

BREAK A LEG.
A superstition based on the belief that when one wishes a performer “good luck”, their wish would induce bad luck. Therefore, they would employ the opposite affect and wish they “break a leg”, to guarantee in their superstitious mind that the performer would do well. This is similar to the opposite game, played by children of the past and present.

THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS.
This Irvin Berling song, first featured in the musical Annie Get Your Gun, is a satirical salute to the fame of show business, while the truth is that show business is not so glamorous. A saying used mostly behind the scenes of theater, has been said in moments of frustration with work, regardless of occupation.

BE IN THE LIMELIGHT.
Before the electric age, stage lighting was created by directing a flame at calcium oxide, which would then create a lime coloring. Thusly, the performer was spotlighted by a limelight. This expression is utilized when someone demands being the center of attention. Although its origin did not hold an unpleasant meaning, today’s use of this word is not a compliment.

STAGING.
Staging is to put together a theater production as well as, planning out events to create a certain effect. This technique is used in Zen, which holds the belief that when furniture and decor are arranged in a specific way, it will produce a calm atmosphere.

UPSTAGE.
This idiom holds a negative sense in theater, as well as in the real world. Upstaging is when an actor purposely draws attention to themselves, by moving ahead of another actor on stage. Moreover, when a coworker attempts to upstage you at work, it’s not only irritating but downright rude.

Madam F.

Copyright © 2014 SarahHardy. All Rights Reserved.

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