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Sucre

Manger du sucre. Applause given by claqueurs to actors is called sucre (sugar). French actors and actresses make a regular agreement with the manager for these hired applauders. While inferior artists are obliged to accept a mere murmur of approval, others receive a “salvo of bravos,” while those of the highest rôle demand a “furore” or éclat de rire, according to their line of acting, whether tragedy or comedy. Sometimes the manager is bound to give actors “sugar to eat” in the public journals, and the agreement is that the announcement of their name shall be preceded with the words “celebrated,” “admirable,” and so on. The following is part of the agreement of a French actor on renewing his engagement (1869): “Que cinquante claqueurs au moins feraient manger du sucre dès I'entrée en scène, et que l'actrice rivale serait privée de cet agrèment.” (See Claque.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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