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Lever de Rideau

A light and short dramatic sketch placed on the stage while the manager is preparing to introduce his drama for the night, or “draw up the curtain” on the real business.

“An attempt to pack a romantic tragedy into the space filled by an ordinary lever de rideau” —Nineteenth Century, Dec., 1892, p. 964.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Lever de Rideau from Infoplease:

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