Tag Archives: theatrical superstition

Not Saying Macbeth in a Theater


The informant is my 18 year old sister and the information was collected from an in person causal interview. She is a senior in high school who is very involved in the theater at her school. Her close circle of friends include many of the people she was in plays with and spends much of her time practicing singing and some dancing. She is describing a superstition her and her theater friends from her high school theater program share.


LA: We are not allowed to say Macbeth unless it is part of the play. If you do say that it is bad luck. Yeah, it had actually happened. One time Karina [theater friend] said Macbeth and then Kayla [another theater friend] was like, “No!” Then there was a rope and it started sparking with fire. It started like smoking while we were in the theater. So that is something you never ever do. 

CA: Why specifically Macbeth?

LA: I don’t, maybe I think is it because it is really hard of a play to do and back luck because Macbeth had bad luck in the story so I think that is why. 


The connection between superstition and the theater seems to be very common. It is a very liminal space where people take on different personas and invoke the spirits of the people they represent. The goal is not to evoke the negative experiences of those you are portraying. Not only is the supersition espoused, but also enforced by other members of the theater showing the level of belief among them. The experience with the smoking rope reinforces their belief in the superstition and they will be more likely in the future to follow the practice more strictly and encourage others to do so. 

The Drama Cat

The source is a fifth-grade student who has acting in the Seattle Country Day School’s school plays for the past three years.

Can you tell me about the drama cat?

The drama cat is a statue. We worship it before each show, on the opening night of the show.

How do you worship it? 

Well the 6th and 7th graders lead it. And they teach it to the kids in my grade. We do a chant, we have to say “All hail the drama cat” and we build a new shrine for the drama cat each—every time there’s a new show.

Why is it important to worship the drama cat?

It’s really really bad luck if you don’t do it. Or if just one kid doesn’t do it, you’ll have a bad show. So it’s really important that we get everyone to do it. Even if they don’t want to [laughs]

Does [your drama teacher] know about the drama cat?

Yes, he knows about it. He’s friends with it. But he does think it’s distracting if we make the worship too long. Like last show [the drama teacher] got mad at us for doing the drama cat worship too long and not setting up the props.

Will you continue the drama cat when you’re a 6th grader.

Yes I will. I’m going to keep it going and teach it to the next people.