I went to see the Vancouver Playhouse’s production of Red, a play about Mark Rothko at the height of his fame. This is not a review of that play. This is a story. There is a full review of the play in the Georgia Straight in case that disappoints you.
As far as communities go, the theatre community is a superstitious bunch. The most well known display of this trait is the taboo of saying good luck to a performer before a show. They would rather be told to break a leg. This one I know but, somehow, after 3 years of living with a theatre major and the daughter of an actor, I failed to learn or at least failed to retain any knowledge of another famous theatre taboo; the “Scottish Curse”. As I read out the stage credits of the lead actor, I learned my lesson. Among his credits was a stint in Macbeth.
In my own defense, if this curse is such a big deal actors should not be able to list the play among their credits. As far as I am concerned, that is just asking for trouble. Doesn’t everyone read the program aloud to their friends?
A little Googling after the fact has since taught that the antidote is a quote from Macbeth for someone to say, “‘Angels and ministers of grace defend us.’ Then the offender must leave the house, turn around widdershins (counterclockwise) three times, swear and knock to be readmitted.”
My companion looked at me aghast but did not call for any angels or ministers. I didn’t turn widdershins even once. So, naturally, disaster befell the production.
A gigantic screen that was used as a vehicle to change between scenes fell off it’s runners and the play had to be halted while four people tried to coerce the sail back into it’s tiny crevasse without dropping it onto the rapt audience in the process.
This could be chalked up to going to see the first preview of a show, but I did say the word and then…could it really be coincidence?
I overheard someone behind me say that it rid the theatre of its magic and mystery when things went wrong with the set. I don’t know that that was a negative thing for me. Particularly, since it was a play about the visual arts and the very next scene contained a reference to the adverse effects of bringing up the lights on a stage set. The line was apt but inaccurate. The lights up, behind the scenes moment gave the production a more physical presence. It gave more importance to the stage and set than the magic of a performance without a hitch would have allowed it to have otherwise.
Perhaps I will use this weapon strategy again the next time I attend the theatre. Watch out!