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The Theatre Portal

Ancient Greece theatre in Taormina, Sicily, Italy

Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance. Elements of art, such as painted scenery and stagecraft such as lighting are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience. The specific place of the performance is also named by the word "theatre" as derived from the Ancient Greek θέατρον (théatron, "a place for viewing"), itself from θεάομαι (theáomai, "to see", "to watch", "to observe").

Modern theatre includes performances of plays and musical theatre. The art forms of ballet and opera are also theatre and use many conventions such as acting, costumes and staging. They were influential to the development of musical theatre; see those articles for more information. (Full article...)

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Ben Greet in the role of Boomblehardt
Creatures of Impulse is a short story by English dramatist W. S. Gilbert, which he later adapted for the stage with music by composer-conductor Alberto Randegger. Both the short story and the play concern an unwanted and ill-tempered old fairy who enchants people to behave in a manner opposite to their natures, with farcical results. The short story was written for The Graphic's Christmas number of 1870, and the play was first produced at the Court Theatre on 2 April 1871. It originally included six songs, but three were eventually cut, and some productions dispensed with the music entirely. While the lyrics survive, the music was never published and is lost. Reviews of the play were mostly positive, though it was criticised for the lack of a significant plot or superstructure to support its comic premise. Nonetheless, reviewers found it enjoyable, and it was a modest success, running for 91 performances and enjoying revivals into the early part of the 20th century. Gilbert had already written a considerable body of stories, plays, poems, criticism and other works before writing Creatures of Impulse and would go on to write the libretti to the famous Savoy operas (composed by Arthur Sullivan) between 1871 and 1896.

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Terry-Thomas in May 1951
Terry-Thomas (1911–90) was an English comedian and character actor, known to a world-wide audience through his portrayals of upper class cads, toffs and bounders. His dress sense and style were striking, as was the gap of a third of an inch between his two front teeth. He worked his way through uncredited film parts in the 1930s before wartime service with Entertainments National Service Association and Stars in Battledress led to a post-war career on stage and then into How Do You View? (1949), the first comedy series on British television. He appeared in British films such as Private's Progress (1956), Blue Murder at St Trinian's (1957), and Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1959). During the early 1960s he worked extensively in Hollywood, providing a coarser version of his screen persona in films such as Bachelor Flat (1962), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and How to Murder Your Wife (1965). After being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1971, he spent much of his fortune on medical treatments. He lived in poverty towards the end of his life, existing on charitable hand-outs, before a 1989 charity gala in his honour brought him financial comfort for the remaining months before his death.

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Sacha Guitry, portrait by Léon Gard
When they have a success, the producers think they are brilliant, but when they have a failure, they think the public are fools.

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