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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Macbeth!

Reconstructed Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Southwark, London
... whistling, saying good luck, ghost light...what do these have in common? Yes this is a test!

They are all theatre superstitions. All are said to bring bad luck or even cause death or in the case of the ghost light fail to protect the cast and crew from ghosts if not left lit at all times.

Saying Macbeth aloud in a theatre is considered extreme bad luck and believed to end in injury or death of the person who spoke the name. If you ever find yourself in a theatre forced to discuss Macbeth refer to it as 'that Scottish play' just to be safe.

Whistling has an historical reason to be avoided while in the theatre. Before the discovery of radio waves  backstage signals were based on sailing whistling signals that would communicate when to lift or drop set pieces, curtains, etc. So in the day if you whistled you could be signalling a rigger to drop a set on a you. The tradition has now become superstition - no whistling unless you'd like to experience crushing death-by-set.

Perhaps the dramatic nature of the inhabitants of theatres lends more power to these superstitions or perhaps more of them tend to linger as spirits. But, for whatever reason nearly every theatre more than 100 years old is haunted and as such needs protection from ghosts in the form of a ghost light. Maybe the Convent Garden Royal Theatre turned its off since it is reputed to be one of the most haunted theatres in the world and as it is still in operation you might be able to see for yourself.

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