Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection:
Primary Language: English
Context: Subject had worked Theater production in high school and had been exposed to many superstitions surrounding ideas of bad luck, prevention, and reversal methods.
[Speaking face to face in a lounge while studying for classes]
“The whole Macbeth rumor… where if you are in a theater and you say the word ‘Macbeth,’ you have to leave the theatre and… is it spin backwards in three circles, or forward…?”
“Um… I feel like it might be backwards”
“I think you have to spin in three circles backwards and like… spit or something. Um, and basically, people are very superstitious about it, even if it’s not… even people who aren’t generally superstitious or worried about it. Like my friend who studies stage management at Syracuse… um… was like… complaining to me about some kid who said Macbeth in the theater and refused to do the circle thing and their play went horribly… And she legitimately believed it was his fault. And in a way, it’s interesting because just since you think it’s going to ruin the play, like you subconsciously ruin it yourself… so that’s interesting.”
Introduction: The informant was introduced by fellow theater crew members when they joined stage production in high school.
Analysis/Interpretation: This is interestingly, a common phenomenon seen within the theater community. Given that I hadn’t been exposed to theater until becoming employed at one, I hadn’t been exposed to any theater folk beliefs or customs. As of recently, I have come to see more commonalities between theater-based folklore. Specifically, regarding Macbeth, it seems as though much of what is actively practiced and reinforced within the theater community, consistent amongst even the most different regions is contingent upon ideas of prevention of bad luck from pursuing during a production.