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Theatrical Superstitions

  • Date Submitted: 06/16/2010 03:35 AM
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Theatrical superstitions
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Theatrical superstitions are superstitions particular to actors or the theatre.

[edit] The Scottish play
Main article: The Scottish play
Shakespeare's play Macbeth is said to be cursed, so actors avoid saying its name (the euphemism "The Scottish Play" is used instead). Actors also avoid even quoting the lines from Macbeth inside a theatre, particularly the Witches incantations. Outside of a theatre the play can be spoken of openly. If an actor speaks the name Macbeth in a theatre, he or she is required to leave the theatre building, spin around three times, spit, curse, and then knock to be allowed back in. There are several possible origins for this superstition. One is the assumption that the song of the Weird Sisters is an actual spell that will bring about evil spirits. Another is that there is more swordplay in it than most other Shakespeare plays, and the more swordplay must be rehearsed and performed, the more chances there are for someone to get injured. Yet another option is that the play is often run by theatres that are in debt and looking to increase patronage.

There is also a legend that the play itself was cursed because the first time it was ever performed, the actor playing Macbeth died shortly before or after the production (accounts vary).[citation needed] It is also said that the original production of the play used actual witches and witchcraft, and so the play is cursed.[citation needed]

The YTV/Discovery Kids children's program "Mystery Hunters" actually tempted the curse by uttering "Macbeth" and demonstrated several ways to counteract the curse in the episode "MacBeth/Salem Witches". The superstition is even parodied in an episode of The Simpsons....


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