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Word for a troupe of performers

Discussion in 'Research' started by skip.knox, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I've already done a thorough search of synonyms. I've taken those over to Google Translate to expand the list. Now I'm asking the Presently Assembled for something more.

    Specifically, an outdated term--19thc or before. In English or any other language. This would be for a troupe of performers of the sort that would appear at a city festival (already have mummers; thanks) or a noble court.

  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I'm sure you already have "company," or "compagnia," if you prefer the Italian word, which was commonly used. I see that or "troupe" most often in reference to pre-19th century works, but they're not outdated. I'm interested in what words people come up with.
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    >I'm interested in what words people come up with.
    Me too. :)

    Just for reference, I have Bund, masquers, trouveres as prime candidates. Minstrel would be nice but my troupe does more than music and it doesn't go to a collective noun very gracefully. I really like vates because it means not only poet but prophet, with overtones of expert or master of some topic. But it's Latin (which is fine) so most readers will pronounce it "vaits" as in "he vaits by the vaterfall" instead of "va-tais" as it should be. I'm thinking of shifting the spelling to dance around that.

    I ought to have said before, not only words from other languages, but even better would be slang from other languages. Pre-19thc Catalan slang for a performing troupe? Anyone? Anyone?

    Why doesn't someone make the Dictionary of Archaic Words?
    Huh. So of course I searched on exactly that and came up with this
    Full text of "Dictionary Of Archaic And Provincial Words Volume A-I."
    Sweet! Many of the entries are merely antiquated spellings, but it's still nice to have as a resource. For example, searching the text for "actor" gave me this little gem:

    DISAR. An actor. See Collier, I 50. Gene-
    rally speaking, the clown ; and hence any fool
    was so called. Sometimes spelt disard, dis-
    sarde, (lizard, &c. " A dizzard or common
    vice and jester counterfeiting the gestures of
    any man, and moving his body as him list,"
    Nomenclator, p. 529. Cf. Welde's Janua
    Linguarum, 1615, p. 77.
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

  5. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Inkling

    I have seen a mixed group of 'popular' entertainers (jugglers, tumblers, jesters, etc) referred to as 'a motley.' I do not know if there is the slightest bit of historical accuracy to the term.
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I'm doubtful this will help because of your specific purposes, but you could go through the same process for words like caravan, tent, stage, procession or trailers. These are the kinds of things that pop up when a circus or festival are in town, so they may gain that association.
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Good suggestions. I did a bit of that and found fantoccini and galanty, both of which refer to shadow shows or puppet shows. Great words, but not quite in the right ballpark. Same goes for buskers.

    And then I found this!

    More rabbit holes....
  8. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    GRRM used mummers, which worked out well for him, heh heh. And of course, that got spun into the Bloody Mummers mercenary band. Otherwise... I actually beat my head on this one and haven’t decided, LOL. But, I’ve got nothing new for you.
  9. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    Thespian is a fairly traditional word for them, and I haven't seen that listed yet. Plural would be thespians. The word came from Thespis, the first guy to take the stage in Ancient Greece.

    Players was a simple term often used in Shakespeare's time. There were many "Players Guilds".

    The word "Hypocrite" also comes from the greek word for Actors, or stage players. The greek word is hypokrites and translates to "an interpreter from underneath" because the stage players usually wore masks. Eventually it started to mean anyone who was pretending to be something they are not... Which is kinda cool and could have a lot of symbolism.
  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Thanks, HeliotropeHeliotrope. I'm putting this one further back on the stove. Needs to simmer for a while. But they're definitely not just actors. They perform all sorts--singing, dancing, "magic" tricks, acrobatics, jokes. Pretty much anything to keep amused anyone from a noble's court to rabble at a festival. If they were in a much later century, they'd be running a carney.
    Heliotrope likes this.

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