Theatre Superstitions

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ElphieDefiesGravity
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Theatre Superstitions#0
Posted: 10/27/04 at 3:30pm
Hi everyone. I am doing an article for the school newspaper about superstitions and I was wondering if you could give me some theatre superstitions (non-theatre is okay too) ann if you know the whys and hows of these superstitions that would be great. Thanks!
Sorry if this has been done recently.
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Gothampc
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re: Theatre Superstitions#1
Posted: 10/27/04 at 3:33pm
Don't say the name "Macbeth" in the theater. Call it "The Scottish Play".

Don't whistle in the theater. Many years ago, whistling was the signal to let down the curtain or the scenery. If you're standing in the wrong place when someone whistles, you might get hit by the flying scenery.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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Glebb
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re: Theatre Superstitions#2
Posted: 10/27/04 at 3:34pm
In ballet, whistling in the theatre is considered bad luck. We also say "merde" in lieu of "good luck" or "break a leg".
" ...the happiness in the tune convinces me that I'm not afraid."
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Millie42
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re: Theatre Superstitions#3
Posted: 10/27/04 at 3:39pm
I have a question about the good luck/break a leg thing.
Does it only apply to opening night? or any night?

Also, is it taboo to say "Good luck with the show" as a general statement?
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x3AllForADreamx3
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re: Theatre Superstitions#4
Posted: 10/27/04 at 3:46pm

for me and the theater i take part in we dont say "break a leg"..because odd cowincidence maybe..but a few years ago one of the mothers told her daughter to break a leg..and low and behind during her energetic entrance she fell..and well..broke her leg. haha now thanks to an 80's song one of our directors was telling us about.. we all say "rock the casba" <-(spelling?)
"Some folks can't stand it;Say time is a bandit;But i take the opposite view;Cause when i need a lift.. Time brings a gift"- Hairspray
Chrysanthemum62001
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re: Theatre Superstitions#5
Posted: 10/27/04 at 3:48pm
I've always referred to Macbeth as Lady M to avoid catastrophe.
"What a mystery this world. One day you love them and the next day you want to kill them a thousand times over." The Masked Bandit in THE FALL
diva007
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re: Theatre Superstitions#6
Posted: 10/27/04 at 3:49pm
does nyone know the ritual you are supposed to do when you say MACBETH in the theatre?
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BreakingTheCircle07
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re: Theatre Superstitions#7
Posted: 10/27/04 at 3:54pm
LOL, my high school made us do this: spin around three times, curse three times, and spit three times. I know it sounds odd, but I've found other rituals vary on those themes.
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WOSQ
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re: Theatre Superstitions#8
Posted: 10/27/04 at 3:54pm
Along the lines of turn around three times, leave the dressing room (or area) and ask and then be granted permission to reenter.

The only times one is allowed to quote from The Scottish Play is onstage in rehearsal or performance. The English are quite fervent about this.

I was a big fan of knocking wood. Once I did a production of The Scottish Play with a steel set. Fortunately the floor is almost always wood.
"If my life weren't funny, it would just be true. And that would be unacceptable." --Carrie Fisher
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jacobtsf
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re: Theatre Superstitions#9
Posted: 10/27/04 at 4:14pm
The Scottish play is the biggest no-no amongst actors (to others it is "don't say good luck")
Before every show I make it a point to touch every actor and say "good show." It has something to do with transferring good aura and releasing bad.
David walked into the valley With a stone clutched in his hand He was only a boy But he knew someone must take a stand There will always be a valley Always mountains one must scale There will always be perilous waters Which someone must sail -Into the Fire Scarlet Pimpernel
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The Distinctive Baritone
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re: Theatre Superstitions#10
Posted: 10/27/04 at 6:42pm
Jacob--that's an interesting ritual you have. Hope you're cool about it though--I did summer stock at this theater and one guy in the company, I swear, before every performance, all like, fifty of them, had to shake everyone's hand and say "have a good show." And this guy was kinda weird anyway, so you can imagine that after the first month, it got rather annoying.

ANYHOO...I'm not really a big believer in superstition anyway, so you all can do whatever you want.
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chinkie azn jai
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re: Theatre Superstitions#11
Posted: 10/27/04 at 7:57pm
I heard that the reason why the theatre janitors light up the ghost light on the stage is so the ghosts in the theatre can make up their own show during the night. But, i know the real reason why is for safety reasons.
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pndmnd
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re: Theatre Superstitions#12
Posted: 10/27/04 at 8:04pm
There's actually a book entitled Ghost Light. I have it, but haven't read it yet. I think it's more of a right up about growing up around theatre, but it probably covers the superstition about the light. Technically, it's a saftey feature (so no one falls in the pit or trips on the stage), but I always thought that the superstition was that the ghost light was to keep ghosts out.

Also, what I've been taught about the McB superstition is another variation of the three times thing. You have to run outside (completely--not just into the lobby) and spin around three times backwards. Then you have to be given permission to re-enter the space.
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broadwaybound3
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re: Theatre Superstitions#13
Posted: 10/27/04 at 8:09pm
ok here our "the m word play" tradition. You have to leave the theater completely- spin around thrice, spit twice, knock three times- the rest of the cast is waiting @ the door (or as many as we can time permitting)and we all have to knock on wood (our own little quark) then ask to be let back in.

We also have a theater ghost- Albert Swan. He has to be on the set (drawings, painted, clocks, bookcases, wax fruit, etc.) or something in the play will mess up. Last year's spring play we had 27 Alberts on stage @ one point- we had a bad fall play experience.
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re: Theatre Superstitions#14
Posted: 10/27/04 at 8:27pm
What happened?
Keep the peace, take care of each other, and may you find your promised land. -TJST
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dotmarie
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re: Theatre Superstitions#15
Posted: 10/27/04 at 8:38pm
"Also, what I've been taught about the McB superstition is another variation of the three times thing. You have to run outside (completely--not just into the lobby) and spin around three times backwards. Then you have to be given permission to re-enter the space."

I said Macbeth in my theatre arts class last year (classes were held in the theatre, and by the way I only said it because our teacher asked if anyone knew the name of the play that would bring bad luck in a theatre...um, duh) and my teacher told me to do just that. I didn't (ha) but nothing bad has happened at any of the school shows so far. If anything ever DOES happen, however, I will be willing to take full credit!

=)
beans
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re: Theatre Superstitions#16
Posted: 10/27/04 at 8:39pm
on the "break a leg" tradition. My understanding is that it is in reference to the curtain call. The curtains on each side of the stage are called "legs." So, during the curtain call, you want to have made such an impression that the audience goes wild and continues to cheer and applaud so long that the "legs" are "broken" open again for an extra bow. if you are really good, you can break a leg several times.

i've also heard that it's in reference to an actual physical injury. this part of the superstition believes that if you wish something good for an actor then they will be jinxed for the show and something bad will happen. with this theory, actors say "break a leg" in order not to jinx them. to me, that doesn't make much sense, so I prefer the above argument.
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bwaymyway
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re: Theatre Superstitions#17
Posted: 10/27/04 at 8:43pm
Break a Leg = Actor's Saying
Merde = Dancer's Saying ((French for s***))
Grow a Node = Vocalist's Saying

That's what each say instead of "good luck," etc.
but most of all i yearn to be astonishing...
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re: Theatre Superstitions#18
Posted: 10/27/04 at 9:35pm
about the Scottis hPlay, what my Drama teacher told us we had to do was this: Spin around three times and say "may fair thoughts and happy hours attend thee," three times. We didnt have to leave or ask permission to re-enter.

Also, before each performance, my school always got in a circle and we would yell "energy, energy, energy!" while (gently) pounding the back of the person in front of us. Is that werid? =)
gravity87
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re: Theatre Superstitions#19
Posted: 10/27/04 at 10:23pm
we do the energy thing too one person starts it turns to the person to there left looks them in the eys and they both clap and the same time and yell energy. now the recipent of the energy gives to the next and it goes around the circle and it goes faster and faster and faster unitll it just dies. I always hide beacsue befor a show i just like to be quiet and think but some of us will not do a show without it.
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re: Theatre Superstitions#20
Posted: 10/27/04 at 10:33pm
ok for what happened- sorry i ran away- but on the night we were being judged.. the gun didnt fire (the whole basis of the play) our dead personw as breathing and you could hear it from the mics, i got the chicken poxs (week before the play) and someone had to fillin, the cast skipped 5 pages of the dialog and didnt cover for it, and our stage manager got hit in the head with a collumn from the set. and the phone never rang. we dont talk about that play- its the play that shalt not be named.

we also do a silent "energy" thing were we pass the squeze with our arms crossed and ask albert (theater ghost) for a good show. Its a cool thing because the whole room is silent and all you feel is the engery and the nervousness and its great.
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Mamie
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re: Theatre Superstitions#21
Posted: 10/27/04 at 10:38pm
This is an interesting page that a Google search brought up
Theatre Superstitions
www.thebreastcancersite.com
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mamie4 5/14/03
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re: Theatre Superstitions#22
Posted: 10/27/04 at 10:49pm
... and still another
more superstitions
www.thebreastcancersite.com
A click for life.
mamie4 5/14/03
SarahHIYE
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re: Theatre Superstitions#23
Posted: 10/28/04 at 12:47am
I like to say 'Have fun' to other actors before going onstage. I really don't adhere to the 'good luck' or 'break a leg' thing. I usually don't say either (because I don't know how people feel about them) but if someone says it to me, I don't mind. But I like 'have fun'. Eh, personal preferences.
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re: Theatre Superstitions#24
Posted: 10/28/04 at 1:37am
In high school, our MacDeath-negating ritual was to run around the auditorium three times. I remember once, for our last performance of "Peter Pan," a few techies decided to be smart-asses and ran around shouting the Scottish curse a zillion times before the show. Know what happened? Our backup TInkerbell burned out and we had to use a spotlight, a kid nearly fell in the pit, the window into the nursery broke during a scene change, and a girl got hit on the head with a batten. If that ain't proof of the curse, I don't know what is.
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