The Most Famous Theatrical Superstitions

By on August 25, 2017


By Abhishek Kumar Khandelwal

Even though many people are not aware of this fact, it is well known that theatre actors and actresses are generally very superstitious. Superstition, although illogical and void of any reasoning, is widespread and can be found in many professions, including this one. So, it is very important to note that theatre actors have many things that are considered to be lucky or unlucky, and we will below discuss some of the most interesting and most commonly mentioned ones.

Macbeth or the Scottish Play

The superstition related to Shakespeare’s Macbeth is probably the most famous superstition in regard to theatre. Namely, actors all around the globe consider it a bad luck to actually utter the word Macbeth prior to any theatre play. Also, aside from the name of the play, actors avoid even quoting any of the lines from the famous play. If it happens that someone accidentally mentioned Macbeth before a play, this person is required to do the following: leave the building, spin three times, spit and curse, and only then ask to come back in again. Some say that this superstition has to do with the fact that Macbeth features a lot of sword fighting; some say that it is linked to the fact that Globe Theatre was burned down during the performance of Macbeth even though this is a misinformation; some say that this is so because when Macbeth was to be played for the first time ever, the lead actor that was supposed to play Macbeth died, either before or right after the play.

Never Say Good Luck!

If you ever find yourself in a theatre and among actors right before they go to the stage, aside from remembering not to mention Macbeth, it is also important not to wish anybody good luck. Ironically, wishing someone good luck is actually considered bad luck, and no one has a good explanation of why this is so. If you by any chance do wish some of the actors good luck, you are supposed to do exactly the same thing you would do if you mentioned Macbeth – and the drill has been explained above. So, instead of saying ‘Good luck!’ you should use the expression ‘Break a leg’, or even wish them bad luck and curse them before they go on stage.

Ghosts and Theatre Have a Long History

Ever since the first theatre was opened, ghosts started to be closely related to it. Namely, there is a superstition that any theatre should be closed one day a week so as to give the ghosts some room to have the building for themselves, as every theatre has its own ghosts. So, many theatres have chosen to make this day Monday, so that the actors could have a break from plays they performed in during the weekend. Also, there is the story of Thespis, who was the first actor to perform in a theatre as a single actor. Namely, it is believed that many mishaps that happen in a theatre are caused by Thespis, and if anything bad happens on November 23, then everybody believes it was done by Thespis, as this is the date when he supposedly said the first single lines in a theatre play.

Do you know any Theatrical Superstitions? Add yours in the comments below!
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