- The stage direction "eccentric business" sometimes appears in playscripts of the era, often when a featured actor in comedy is alone on stage. The performer would be expected to draw upon his or her personal tricks of the trade for comic effect. These amusing idiosyncratic activities might involve some anomalous handling of props or simply grotesque movement and gesture. "Eccentric comedian" was another term for a character actor specializing in quirky comedy.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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Lines of Business — From the 18th century until the rise of the combination system, actors were hired according to certain categories of roles that they would play throughout the repertory of plays presented by that company. Apart from the leading man and leading … The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater
actings — Before the long running play became economically feasible in the 1890s, the fundamental qualification for a career on the stage was the ability to memorize a lot of lines on short notice, for only a star knew the luxury of the limited… … The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater