Monday, June 05, 2006

The Green Room

Just about every TV show I do, they show me to the "green room" to chill before I go on the air.

Not once, never, have I actually seen a green room that’s green. So what I wonder is, why do they call it a “green room”? Seriously. A quick Google search tells me the term has been used in the theater since 1701, but none of my usual word-origin websites has a good explanation. Someone told me not long ago – and this is a theory I haven’t read on the web – that it comes from around Shakespeare’s time, when actors would hang out before their scenes in what was sarcastically called “the green room” – outdoors, of course, in a copse of trees in the forest.

Does anyone know the real derivation?

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2 Comments:

Blogger tylarius said...

As to why the walls were painted green, as opposed to, say, hot pink, the most logical theory holds that the green color was chosen because it was found to be soothing to actors' eyes after they had spent time under harsh stage lights, especially the intense limelight used in the early theaters. A related (but not quite as likely) theory proposes that since limelight is itself slightly greenish, it made sense for actors to apply their makeup in a room with green walls.

(better late than never)

4:34 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

It could also be simply a bastardised version of "Scene Room"(often where scenerey is/was stored)
from Scenic House (part of the Tiring House in Elizabethan playhouses), from Skene (the greek theatres' house/wall behind the acting area.) Just some slightly over educated guesses.

11:09 AM  

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