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Folk Custom – University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom

Posted By Daniel Rahmann On March 15, 2011 @ 9:31 am In Customs,Folk Beliefs,general,Protection | Comments Disabled

„Whenever we put on a play at my school, we keep a copy of Macbeth on the stage. My Drama teacher insists it on it and now its common practice. Honestly I don’t know whether it has done wonders but at least it hasn’t brought about any problems yet”

This piece of occupational folklore is usually different in that the use of Macbeth within a Theatre apparently curses the performance. To the informant, and actor, this practice is carried out to bring luck to the production and the performance. Often a copy of the play will be used as prop or placed inside the drawer of whatever piece of furniture is placed on the stage. What I found interesting about this tradition at Warwick University is that they do exactly the opposite. I found this very interesting that it matches a lot of sayings that are supposed to wish luck, such as “break a leg”. My interpretation of this idea is that in encouraging something bad, you eliminate the curse in mentioning it so as to cause the opposite to happen. As far as thespian superstitions are concerned, this is a relatively controversial practice: usually bringing up Macbeth within a Theatre brings bad luck, and there are many practices discussed to counteract the curse, i.e. running around the theatre three times etc. I found this particularly important because it sheds light on the evolution of folklore and how things will adopt different meanings over time.


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URL to article: http://folklore.usc.edu/?p=3345