Benford's G&S Lexicon Entries for Thespis

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Act I

Six-sheet poster

A large printed advertising poster assembled from six separate sheets.

Limelight [Limelight effects by the original Moon]

A strong theatrical spot light generated by projecting a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen on a small piece of quicklime (calcium oxide). Invented by British army engineers in 1824, it was quickly adapted for magic lanterns (early form of slide projectors) and later for the stage (253).

Milo [I appeared in a vision to Mr Milo]

Pronunciation: MY-lo

The famous Venus de Milo statue in the Louvre derives its name from the island of Milo, or Melos, on which it was discovered in 1820. Venus here is clearly afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Mr Milo, indeed!

Gauze [use a gauze next time]

A stage scrim: a thin semi-transparent screen filling the proscenium and partially or totally obscuring the stage, depending on the source of light. Gauzes may also be used to cover openings upstage.

Incog. [Why don’t you all go down to Earth, incog.]

Short for incognito: in disguise, with hidden identity.

Deities [with all the other deities]


“Clo” [I’ll fill his place and wear his “clo”]

Clothes. Rag collectors in the streets used to call, “Any old clo?” (274).

Phoebus [Phoebus am I, with golden ray]

Pronunciation: FEE-bus

Another name for Apollo, particularly when in his role as sun god.


Pronunciation: kah-LIE-oh-pee

One of the muses. She was the daughter of Jupiter and Mnemosyne, and her official duties required her to preside over eloquence and heroic poetry. Apollo was her half-brother and, if you’ll recall, he too was supposed to preside over some of the arts. In their collaborative efforts with the Hellenic Arts Council they worked so intimately that they became the parents of Orpheus. You never can tell where committee work may lead.

Act II


Drinking parties.


The food of the gods, which, like nectar, conferred immortality.


To intoxicate, make drunk.

Rosy [Olympian rosy]

Rosé or other wine (274).

Vulcan [Then why object to Vulcan?]
Sketch of Vulcan

In Roman mythology the god of fire and metalworking.

Arcadee [Little maid of Arcadee]

Arcadia, the poetic land of rustic contentment in the Peloponnesus, which is a large peninsula in the southern part of Greece, and location of Sparta.

Tenpenny nail

A common nail. They are nearly three inches long and there are from 70 to 90 of them in a pound. The “penny” term dates back to fifteenth century England. Nail sizes then were designated by the retail price per hundred (229). The prices have changed, but the designation has not.

Squint [And Venus should not have a squint in her eyes]

Having eyes that point in different directions, perhaps cross-eyed (229).


In Greek mythology, the god of the lower world, also known as Hades. He is also sometimes known as the giver of wealth, hence the term plutocrat.

Onus [On some it has come as a serious onus]

Burden or responsibility.

Life Office

Life insurance company.