Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any action, carried out onstage during a performance, apart from the main action.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Action carried on aside, and commonly in dumb show, while the main action proceeds.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In a play, action carried on aside, and commonly in dumb show, while the main action proceeds; action not intended to be observed by some of the persons present.
  • n. A diversion; something apart from the main purpose.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. incidental activity performed by an actor for dramatic effect

Etymologies

by- +‎ play (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They're watching for Baker and his byplay with the suspects and co-star Robin Tunney — and for a show that, while not a great drama, is a terrific antidote to tough times.

    Critic's Corner Tuesday

  • One has the cringing sense that Ms. Zanganeh is trying to imitate Nabokov himself, who was given to minutely observed descriptive prose and who opened his famous novel with phonetic byplay.

    The Trouble With Ardor

  • After his opening remarks, frequently some byplay with Hank teasing the band about everything from their haircuts to how sleepy they all were at 7 a.m.,

    Hank Williams: The Working Musician, The Creative Genius

  • "In many ways a more subdued Todd, with many earmarks of a classic village mystery and less byplay from Hamish, the ghost who haunts Rutledge."

    A Matter of Justice by Charles Todd: Book summary

  • Wise creates just the right mood of simmering hostility via some pointed Gable/Lancaster byplay and various telling incidents with the crew, which includes a young Jack Warden and Brad Dexter.

    John Farr: Clark Gable: King of Hollywood

  • "Another Like You," a politically charged duet with singer Cary Ann Hearst, rivals the jousting byplay of John Prine and Iris Dement's "In Spite of Ourselves."

    Album review: Hayes Carll's "KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories)"

  • The White House, Situation Room, interagency byplay, as important as they are, are not everything.

    Backstage Drama

  • This was humorous reading, after we got the byplay from "Chris's Mom" e.

    Hey Ramcatt Kevin Hospodar

  • "While the mystery's resolution may be fairly predictable, the witty byplay between the principals and the convincing portrayal of their burgeoning relationship will leave Parker fans eager for the next book" - Publishers Weekly.

    Blue Screen by Robert B. Parker: Book summary

  • The show continues to develop the smart cop/somewhat less smart cop byplay between Tim Kang's deadpan Cho and Owain Yeoman's more effusive Rigsby.

    Season finale frenzy: 'The Mentalist'

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