Grand Rapids Community College, (2008)
Theatres have always had their superstitions, from not whistling near the stage to wishing actors to “break a leg” instead of wishing them good luck before a show. Some superstitions serve a purpose. Whistling, for instance, is how stagehands used to communicate before modern times brought walkie talkies and other technologies. An outside whistler could cause numerous disasters to occur, such as curtains falling or rising at the wrong times, or even props falling and injuring the actors. Wishing an actor to break a leg, however, has a less straightforward background, and most likely spawned from the superstition of jinxes. However there is one play which all theatres feel responds more to superstitions than any other. That play is Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
No other play is known to boast the lengthy record of mishaps associated with Macbeth (Theatre). There has been everything from lost voices to history making storms, injuries from actors walking off the stage to real murders on the stage. Perhaps it is the amount of blood and violence in the play that causes so many accidents on stage. Or perhaps it is the play’s topics of deceit, tyranny and war that make it something to be feared. Perhaps it is the presence of ghosts and witches that make “The Scottish Play” so prone to superstition. Whatever the reason, the curse of Macbeth has been a strong presence since the play’s incarnation.