• Oct : 9 : 2013 - The Lyceum Theater is the oldest on Broadway (opened in 1903).
  • Sep : 20 : 2013 - The Tony Award-winning play with the shortest title was Da (1978).
  • Sep : 15 : 2013 - In 1912 New York City theaters became desegregated.
  • Sep : 10 : 2013 - Most New York City Broadway theaters omit the row “I” in their seating to avoid confusion with the number one.
  • Sep : 6 : 2013 - The Actors’ Equity contract was signed on September 6, 1991 after an actors strike right before curtain call lasted almost a month.

If there is one thing theatre people are it is superstitious. Anyone who works in a theatre will constantly tell you what you can or cannot do, because it’s “bad luck” or “good luck.” Have you ever wondered why these little practices came into being? Why do actors and theatre take these things so seriously?

Each Monday we’re going to take a closer look at one of these little pieces of theatre lore.

Today we’re going to talk about one of the most common theatre superstitions: Macbeth. The word, the play, you name it, theatre people find it creepy and even cursed! Many people believe that because the show is cursed you must refer to it as “The Scottish Play” instead of by it’s name when in a theatre, some people take it as far as to never say the name “Macbeth” unless it’s in a quote.

But why?

There are a few reasons that people believe:

1.) Because the song of the “Weird Sisters” in the play Macbeth is a curse it is believed that saying the name will draw the devil into your theatre, thus cursing your production.

2.) The second belief is that, due to the fact that Macbeth has more swordplay in it than any other Shakespeare Play (possibly any other play?) it is a dangerous play to perform, and therefore cursed.

3.) The third reason people don’t say the name is that it is believed real witches and witchcraft were used in the original production. Spooky!

 

I guess the biggest question then is how do you fix the problem in case you accidentally do say that word in a theatre? It is believed to counteract the saying of “Macbeth,” you must leave the theatre, spin around three times, spit, curse and then knock to be allowed to return. Whew, glad we got that taken care of.

 

 

5 Responses so far.

  1. bkwrm0502 says:

    Heh, I’ve been yelled at a few times for almost saying “Macbeth” at the production I work at. Most of us don’t believe it at all but we still have to refer to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth by nickname for the few people who are superstitious about it.

  2. [...] wonder why we don’t say Macbeth? Categories: Ever Wondered Why, [...]

  3. [...] wonder why we don’t say Macbeth or whistle in the theater? Categories: Ever Wondered Why, [...]

  4. [...] wonder why we don’t say Macbeth, whistle in the theater, or why we leave the ghost light [...]

  5. Desdemona14 says:

    One reason I’ve seen, and to me it seems very plausible, is that in the original performance there was a prop mix-up with a dagger and a real one was used so the person, well, they died during the performance.

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