Dragaera and Shakespeare [Spoiler for POTD]

Thu Feb 20 20:19:24 PST 2003

On Thu, 20 Feb 2003, Chris Olson - SunPS wrote:
> So, yeah.  Along with a couple of other theater faux pas like
> whistling back stage.  (Why would anyone care, unless it's during
> a performance, if I whistle back stage?)

That one has a more logical base than the Macbeth one.  (Being a theater
major, I know these *g*)  Before ClearCom and other intercom systems were
invented, stage crew that were not in sight lines or other easy contact
positions were given their cues by whistling.  So whistling backstage on
one of those shoes that involved a fly rail or something could result in
you getting a sandbag in the head.  Something that just stuck.  It
honestly wouldn't surprise me if there were still some theater companies
that did this, either for history's sake, or lack of tech.  :)

> It's a superstition dating back awhile.  A production was going on
> where some Bad Thing<tm> happened (I can't recall what it might have
> been) and it was decided that it was caused by someone who said
> Macbeth.  Therefore, no one is allowed to say Macbeth, under penalty
> of being turned away from in disgust or annoyance.  I will say, however,
> that not everyone agrees with this, and I've had more than one friend
> backstage with me saying: "Hey, what's that Scottish play called?"  "What,
> you mean MACBETH?!?"

Mostly right.  It wasn't "a production" though.  When the play was in
early stages of performance, every time it was done, someone either died
or something went wrong, probably because of the high amount of special
effects and machinery and such...  After that, it became like an Indian
graveyard thing; just the mention of it would bring down the curse.
And depending on the company, saying Macbeth may cause bodily
threats.  I'm not saying I believe in it, but I was teching a production
of Cabaret with someone who did and one of the new students wore a Macbeth
shirt to one of the dress rehearsals and the curtains caught on fire.


"Call her life unnatural, feel her undead breath.
Color her black for sorcery, color her gray for death."
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