Very Superstitious

Posted in Uncategorized on August 13th, 2009 by kellinewby

My New Years resolution this year was to be less superstitious about theatre things.  I had been doing very well.  I even cut all my hair off on the day of final dress for All My Sons, and the show went well.

Twelfth Night, on the other hand, has been plagued with problems from the beginning and as I sit here wondering how we’re going to solve yet another complication that cropped up this morning, I am seriously considering going back to my old ways and dragging everyone else along with me.

A few things you should knew about theatre superstitions.

1.  Never say the word “Macbeth” in a theatre.  The play is cursed, according to theatre lore, and even saying the name of the play can bring bad luck.  There are various ways to get rid of the bad karma–most of them involve spinning around, some involve spitting and some swearing.  You are allowed to say the word if you’re producing the show, but good luck with that; it’s cursed.  Most theatre people call it “the Scottish play.”

2.  Most theatres are haunted and often theatre companies have a “ghost lamp” to keep the ghost company.   The ghost lamp is usually a tall lamp stand with a bare bulb and a cage around that bulb.   In one theatre I’ve worked in, they keep a dummy on a noose hung up near the fly loft to keep the ghost company.  And a ghost lamp.  Main Street stage may be the only non-haunted theatre I’ve ever worked in.

3.  Don’t say “Good Luck” to a performer.  It’s bad luck.  The traditional wish is “break a leg,” a phrase that’s origin is constantly under dispute, but all the theories are interesting.  Google it sometime.  In France, actors say “merde” instead of good luck.  Sometimes at Main Street Stage we say “break a nose” after an unfortunate backstage collision during the Red(and Green)Room’s dress rehearsal that resulted in a broken nose.

4.  Don’t put shoes on a table, especially if you’re doing a Scandinavian play.  No, I’m not making this up.

This list does not, of course, include all the personal superstitions that theatre people carry around.

There are only three performances left in this run, but there is still plenty of time to find out who’s been saying the M word in the theatre and make that person spin around three times, then spit, then swear and then apologize to every member of the cast.  And if you see me tonight, please, please don’t say “good luck.”  Just tell me to break a leg.  Maybe, just maybe, it will turn things around.