phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Still looking

Posted by JIllB on October 27, 2002

In Reply to: Still looking posted by ESC on October 26, 2002

: : : : : Hello Phrase Finder Forum,

: : : : : I have been searching for the origin of a phrase that has its roots in theatre. It is "Two boards and a passion", referring to the only thing you need to put on a play. The phrase finders that I have used have not been helpful, and neither have a plethora of sources on Shakespeare (where I thought it may have originated). Does anyone have any suggestions?

: : : : : Regards,

: : : : : Gretel
: : : : : [email protected]

: : : : I found this:

: : : : That attitude--that it's perfectly acceptable to stage a play without a lot of money, without a college degree and without years of experience in the "wrong" and "right" ways to do it--was fostered by their experience at the Repertory Theatre, which was founded more than 10 years ago by Alex Golson. The theater's plays--numbering up to 50 per year--are produced in the intimate Drama Lab Studio and within a framework that allows an extraordinary amount of freedom in terms of subject material and opportunities. Golson, who is also the theater department's chairman, feels that just as important as giving students freedom is showing them that theater can be produced with nothing more than two boards and passion.

: : : : found it at

: : : : It may not have originated there. I'll keep looking.

: : : I found quite a few references, many of which call it a 'proverb' or an 'old saw,' but no primary source was cited. (It does seem to be a popular title for a play/dance/theatre group, though.) Still looking.

: : I am away from my library (unfortunately). This evening I'll look in a filmmaker's dictionary that I have.

: No luck so far. I looked in the filmmaker's dictionary, my regular references, a couple of quote books, and a Shakespeare quote book. The Shakespeare book had several pages of theater quotes but none with the phrase in question. I am thinking that, if you had time, you could go to the library and page through some actor biography/autobiographies or get a friendly librarian to help.

I wonder whether 'a passion' needs to be heard in terms of a dramatic piece of action - bear in mind that the events leading up to Christ's crucifixion are often called 'the passion'- in other words, what you need for a play is two boards and a gripping idea for a plot. This doesn't help you with origins, of course, but it suggests that people who leave out 'a' are misreading a much older proverb.