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The Superstition Probably the most well known theatre superstition involves William Shakespeares play MacBeth -- often called by actors the bards play or the Scottish play The superstition follows that any company performing the play will be beset with horrible luck ranging anywhere from uncanny accidents on the set to actual deaths within the company In fact in many parts it is not only the production of the play that will strike fear but quoting from the play or even the mere mention of the name MacBeth inside a theatre be it the stage the house the lobby or especially the dressing rooms will lose a person aquainted with the stage nearly all his or her theatrical friends The Origin There are many origins for this superstition Old actors believe the witches song in MacBeth to possess the uncanny power of casting evil spells Many actors especially in England avoid Matthew Lockes music for the play quoting numerous stories of ill-fates befallen to those who have played sung or hummed it within the theatre walls The reasons for this fear usually bring tales of accidents and ill-fortunes that have plagued productions of the play through the world The superstition actually began in the old days of stock companies which would struggle at all times to remain in business Frequently near the end of a season a stock company would realize that it was not going to break even and in an attempt to boost ticket sales and attendance would announce production of a crowd favorite MacBeth If times were particularly bad even the bards play would not be enough to save the company therefore MacBeth often frequently presaged the end of a companys season and would be a portent of the companys demise Therefore the fear of MacBeth was generally the fear of bad business and of an entire company being put out of
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