“Smokefall” Glossary

A Glossary of Terms Somewhat Important for the Appreciation of Smokefall

Enjoy this tongue-in-cheek celebration of the Smokefall lexicon. Want to learn more about the creation of the play? Check out this interview with Playwright Noah Haidle.

This article originally appeared in the November 2012 Playbill for Smokefall.

A serious pest of many fruits, especially apples.

Study of the physical and chemical makeup and behavior of heavenly bodies. Einstein writes, “Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

Perfect joy. Unlike happiness, bliss cannot be sustained. Perhaps the most intense feeling of pleasure.

The hereditary class of Hindu society distinguished by relative degree of spiritual purity.

Largely considered the champion of white wine. Chardonnay should be served cold. Chardonnay served at room temperature is much too bold. Best with shellfish or pasta

A performer’s regulation of the moment of occurrence to achieve amusement and perhaps joy. A show biz maxim: “It’s not getting the laugh that’s hard, it’s repeating the laugh.”

Blood relationship. Arriving from a common ancestor. 

A casino employee who runs the games by throwing dice, spinning the roulette wheel and dealing cards.

The idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature and/or divine laws. Leibniz writes, “Everything proceeds mathematically…if someone could have a sufficient insight into the inner parts of things, and in addition had remembrance and intelligence enough to consider all the circumstances and take them into account, he would be a prophet and see the future in the present as in a mirror.”

Whenever a highway has been divided into two or more roadways by means of intermittent barriers. It is illegal to make any left, semi-circular, or U-turn with a vehicle on the divided highway except through an opening in the barrier. 

Raised ground to redirect or prevent flooding.

The transformation of unacceptable impulses (i.e., sex, anxiety, fear, hate) into socially acceptable and even productive forms.

To have been driven out, especially in a violent manner. 

A period of intentional dormancy, typically in reference to land or minds, with expectations to regain fertility.

A disease that cripples apple and pear trees, leaving a burnt appearance on the affected blossoms and twigs.

An additional comment on the central argument, usually printed at the bottom of a page to which attention is drawn by a reference mark in the body of the text. 

The ability to make choices which are not externally determined. Epicurus writes, “Some things happen of necessity, others by chance, others through our own agency.” 

A playful antic. 

The science of strategy. A formal analysis of conflict and cooperation with the aim of determining a player’s actions that will produce the best outcome. Applicable to economics, evolutionary biology, international relations. Nash’s Equilibrium, a concept of game theory where the optimal outcome of a game is one in which no player has incentive to deviate from his chosen strategy, is perfunctorily described in the feature film A Beautiful Mind.

The entire world as being interdependent economically, socially and politically. Marshall McLuhan writes, “The new electronic interdependence recreates the world into the image of a global village.

The Japanese form of the language of flowers. 

Relevant attributes that may be genetically transmitted from one generation to another.

Involuntary urination or defecation. 

Lineal descent from ancestry. 

Long-standing feeling of unease or depression. 

An analysis of the composite of an organism’s observable characteristics, both outward appearance (shape, structure, color) and internal (bones, organs, cells).

Any geometry violating Euclid’s fifth postulate (the parallel postulate). This branch of geometry posits that through a point not on a line, there can be more than one line parallel to the original. (Think M.C. Escher.)

Humanity’s state of imperfection and proclivity towards sin resulting from the fall of man.

Documents that serve as evidence of one’s actions and/or opinions. Followed a lot by private investigators.

A papier-mâché party favor filled, usually with candy, and then broken, usually with a stick.

Placed around the base of a tree to prevent mice from chewing at its base.

Structuralism synthesizes the ideas of Freud, Marx and Saussure to portend that an individual is completely shaped by psychological, sociological and linguistic structures over which he has no control. Post-Structuralism contends that grand narratives cannot determine the totality of the self.

Beyond the scope ordinarily found in nature. 

Excessive unhappiness over one’s own troubles.

Trust in one’s own efforts and abilities. Emerson writes, “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”

Occurrence of disparate actions operating at the same time. 

An informal type of discourse not covering functional topics. (“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”)

Speaking alone. Often used as a theatrical device but in decline since the advent of naturalism.

The use of tickling to abuse, dominate or humiliate. The victim laughs only out of reflex. Sometimes the act of torture continues to the point of urination. (See: Incontinence.)

Usually referring to the quality of existence beyond this known reality. Usually reserved for sages and poets. 

A breach of law. A crime. 

A light or comic entertainment interspersed with songs, dances, animal acts, etc. 

The pressing urge to travel, to keep moving, to never rest.

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