Stealing His Thunder
Posted by Elyse Bruce on February 16, 2010
John Dennis (1657 – 1734) was an English critic, dramatist and largely unsuccessful playwright whose sense of his own importance approached mania.
His play Appius and Virginia (1709) was not a success and management of Drury Lane Theatre, where it was playing at the time, withdrew it. Specifically for the play, Dennis had invented a sound effect machine that very closely approximated the sound of thunder.
Later at a performance of Macbeth, Dennis heard thunder produced by his method and said of the purloined idea, “That is my thunder, by God; the villains will play my thunder, but not my play!”