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Casting

Posted by ESC on June 24, 2000

In Reply to: Casting posted by Daniel Cohen on June 19, 2000

: Can anyone tell me the etymology of the word "Casting" as it applies to the assignment of parts and duties to actors or performers?

: I can perhaps see how a director would want to "cast" out a metaphorical net to bring in the performers needed for a play. Somehow though, this explanation isn't satisfying.

: When was the word first used in this theatrical sense?

: I'd be very grateful for the information.

: Thanks,

: Daniel

CASTING -Information on the origin of the word "cast" is found in the "Dictionary of Word Origins" by John Ayto (Arcade Publishing, New York, 1990): "Cast comes from the Old Norse 'kasta' 'throw.' It has gradually been replaced since Middle English times as the ordinary word for 'propelling with the arm' by 'throw.' Of the various metaphorical senses of the noun, 'set of performers in a play' developed in the 17th century, apparently from an earlier 'plan, design.'" The term "casting" dates from its theatrical use in 1814, according to "