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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Superstitions: The World of Theatre

Theatrical superstitions are superstitions particular to actors or the theatre. One of the most popular theatrical superstitions is that related to the colour yellow. 
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière (January 15, 1622 – February 17, 1673), was a French writer, director, and actor and one of the most important figures in the establishment of French drama. One of the most famous moments in Molière's life is the last, which became legend: he died on stage, while performing his final play, Le Malade Imaginaire. Strictly speaking, he collapsed on stage, and died a few hours later at his house, without sacraments, because two priests refused to visit him and the third arrived too late. According to the tradition, Molière was wearing yellow, and because of that, there is a superstition that yellow brings bad luck to actors.
As an actor, he was not allowed by the laws of the time to be buried in an ordinary cemetery, in sacred ground. His wife Armande, however, asked the king Louis XIV to allow a "normal" funeral celebrated at night. The King agreed and Molière's body was buried in the part of the cemetery reserved for unbaptised infants.
There are more superstitions related to actors and the world of the theatre:

* The play Macbeth is considered the unluckiest play in theatre. It is such bad luck that actors don't like to mention the title. They refer to it as "The Scottish Play" or "Mr. and Mrs. M" or "That Play".
* When rehearsing a play, the actors ensure that they are perfect in every line except the last one, or tag, as it is called. This is never uttered until the first night of the actual performance, when the success or otherwise of the production is ascertained by the extent of the applause which follows the last line.
* Actors never wish each other "good luck" before a performance as it might have the opposite effect. It's safer to tell an actor heading for the stage to "break a leg", "knock 'em dead", or "see you on the green".

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