The Curse of the Scottish play

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American/Greek
Age: 18
Occupation: student
Residence: DC
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/22/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Greek

G: You can’t say Macbeth during any rehearsals or theater-related entourage. I think this has something to do with the play being a huge tragedy. When my high school teacher explained this to me he said: “well it’s because by the end of the play everyone is dead.” And you have to run 5 laps around the entire theatre if you or someone else says it to get rid of the bad energy. One time my theatre teacher said it during rehearsal and then he fell through the stage.

According to the informant, saying “Macbeth” puts a curse on the entire production and cast. It seems that so many people believe this because there have been true accounts of accidents or unfortunate events after saying it. Some are even lethal as the informant explained that their teacher fell through the stage and hurt himself almost immediately after saying it. There also seems to be damage control measures put in place to protect theatrical productions against the curse as the informant mentioned taking 5 laps around the theater. It’s possible that the violent nature of the play is what has caused the superstitions and concerns. Macbeth is all about death and destruction so it’s understandable why this play is now seen as a dark symbol. I have personally experienced bad luck during a show after a cast member said the words. As a result, a number of things went wrong on opening night. People forgot their lines, made the wrong entrances, forgot their props, costumes broke, etc… It was disastrous. In conclusion, whether the superstition is true or not, it is best to not refer to the Scottish play. 

For another account of this curse, please Martin Harrison’s (1998). The Language of Theatre. Routledge. p. 239.