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magic shows

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companies, playing

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre — Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.

Before the emergence of the professional theatre industry in the second half of the 16th century, companies of travelling players made their livings from performances throughout the...

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féerie

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

A spectacular story of the supernatural, associated almost exclusively with popular French theatre of the nineteenth century. Originating earlier in the fairground theatres, féeries shared...

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Harry Houdini

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

(b. Budapest, 24 March 1874; d. Detroit, 31 Oct. 1926)

Magician and escapologist, whose mother and father – a Hungarian rabbi – emigrated with him to the United States when ...

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Harry Kellar

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

(1849–1922)

America's most popular magician from 1898 to 1908. He learned magic in his teens, and later worked for Davenport Brothers and Fay, a spiritualist show. In 1873 Kellar...

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juggler

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

The almost supernatural skill of juggling—‘the dextrous manipulation of objects’—was probably recognized before the ancient Egyptians, but around 2000 bc they were the earliest to depict...

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medicine show

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

A North American hangover from the nineteenth-century, offspring of touring European quack doctors selling patent medicines from gaudy caravans by offering skits, magic and music too. A few...

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Michel de Ghelderode

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

(b. Ixelles, Belgium, 3 April 1898; d. Schaerbeek, Belgium, 1 April 1962)

Prolific avant-garde playwright and story writer. Although Ghelderode was the driving force in Belgian...

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new Vaudeville

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

A strain of late twentieth-century American performer or performance, merging popular-entertainment traditions and a mischievous, avant-garde sensibility. The term came into use in the...

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street theatre

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

A term used loosely to denote performance outdoors but not in any defined venue. Looking back to the European tradition of commedia dell'arte and strolling players, modern street theatre is...

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Tommy Cooper

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

(1922–84)

Welsh comedian, one of the most popular performers of the final days of the variety stage in Britain. Cooper's act was a mixture of comic one-liners and magic, predicated...

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