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Journal Articles Dix-Huitième Siècle Year : 2000

Laughing out loud at the theatre

Les éclats de rire du public de théâtre


Despite the fact that indiscreet and indecent laughter was long banned, it seems that in the 18th Century this did not prevent theatre audiences from laughing out loud, either to condemn a complete flop or on the contrary to confirm a success that believers in "high comic" considered unjustified. For this immoderate and involuntary laughter was not simply "laughing with the mouth" and the whole moving body, but also escaped the control of reason and was considered to be an offence to good taste and manners as it was too close to the people. Theatre audience laughter, considered from the physiological, psychological and sociological points of view, would seem to be the strongest proof of a true theatre comedy, a risible comedy, whose noisy outbursts, rather than worrying eclipses of reason, are in fact joyous shafts of madness.


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Dates and versions

hal-02937186 , version 1 (12-09-2020)



Dominique Quéro. Les éclats de rire du public de théâtre. Dix-Huitième Siècle, 2000, Le rire, 32 (1), pp.67-83. ⟨10.3406/dhs.2000.2338⟩. ⟨hal-02937186⟩
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