Having an actor dress as the opposite sex for comic effect is also a long-standing tradition in comic theatre and film. Most of Shakespeare's comedies include instances of overt cross-dressing , such as Francis Flute in A Midsummer Night's Dream . The movie A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum stars Jack Gilford dressing as a young bride. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon famously posed as women to escape gangsters in the Billy Wilder film Some Like It Hot . Cross-dressing for comic effect was a frequently used device in most of the Carry On films . Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams have each appeared in a hit comedy film ( Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire , respectively) in which they played most scenes dressed as a woman.
This connection with play also informed the words used in English (as was the analogous case in many other European languages) for drama : the word " play " or "game" (translating the Anglo-Saxon plèga or Latin ludus ) was the standard term used until William Shakespeare 's time for a dramatic entertainment—just as its creator was a "play-maker" rather than a "dramatist", the person acting was known as a "player", and, when in the Elizabethan era specific buildings for acting were built, they was known as "play-houses" rather than " theatres ."