6 Unlucky Theatre Superstitions
It’s Friday the 13th! In keeping with the superstitious day we have a special blog post devoted to some of the common theatre superstitions. Please feel free to comment with any others.
1. Ghostly Light – There should always be a light burning in an empty theater to ward off ghosts.
You might find this odd, but we actually have a ghostly light on at all times at Chandler Center for the Arts. Although we might not be warding off any spirits per say, the light lends itself as a safety precaution. The theatre is extremely dark when all the lights go out and you never know what or who you might bump into. Spooky!
2. Wishing someone “Good Luck” – To wish someone ‘Good luck’ before a show is bad luck.
This common known superstition has been around for numerous years. Before any show starts, you will never hear the words “Good Luck.” Instead we always say “break a leg.”
3. Hauntings – Ghosts haunt theaters and should be given one night a week alone on the stage.
According to Listverse “To keep the ghosts of the theater subdued, there should be at least one night a week where the theater is empty, this night is traditionally a Monday night, conveniently giving actors a day off after weekend performances.” Our ghost, Dungee, (conveniently named by our Youth Advisory Council) may not necessarily need a night to himself on stage since he causes most of the mischief in the basement of the theatre, but we aren’t taking any chances.
4. Whistling – It is considered bad luck for an actor to whistle on or off stage.
Back in the day, original stage crews were hired from ships in port. Like on the ship, the crew used coded whistles to communicate scene changes. Actors who whistled would confuse them into changing the set or scenery.
5. The Last Line – Saying the last line of a play without an audience is considered bad luck.
Since the show is not really complete until performed for the first time, one should never say the last line of a play during dress rehearsal.To get around this, some production companies allow a limited number of people to attend the dress rehearsals.
6. The Scottish play (Macbeth) – Saying the word ‘Macbeth’ in a theater will result in extreme bad luck.
If you have ever performed a play on stage chances are you have heard this superstition. Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, is said to be cursed, so actors avoid saying its name. Outside a theatre and after a performance the play can be spoken of openly. However, if an actor speaks the name “Macbeth” in the theatre prior to a performance, he or she is required to leave the theatre building, spin around three times, spit, curse, and then knock to be allowed back in. Don’t mess around with this one…
Now whether you are a superstitious person or not, us theatre folk are not taking any chances. Happy Friday the 13th!