Theatre Superstition Essay

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Theatre Superstition Theatrical superstitions and backstage rituals still exist in modern acting companies. As an art form that is 'handed down' from one performer to another, these rituals have become a form of tradition. They are usually based on the principle of luck as opposed to religious beliefs. However, like most superstitions they are based on the belief in the supernatural, particularly ghosts. Though many of these superstitions are based on old lore some of them are logical and even practical to this very day. They are a firm part of what makes theatre interesting and colorful. Some examples of these superstitions include: “Break a leg”: It is the standard way of wishing actors a good show and is perhaps one of the best-known theatrical superstitions still in effect today. It may be based on the premise that saying “good luck” actually will have an adverse effect. No one knows with certainty how it originated but some possible origins are: 1. There is a belief among certain theatrical professionals that ghosts tend to haunt empty theaters and are keen to produce the opposite result of whatever requests they hear. In order to thwart these spirits, actors often say the opposite of what they actually mean. By telling someone to "break a leg" instead of "good luck," the hope is that the spirit will be tricked into providing real good luck for the performer. 2. To "break the leg" or "break a leg" is archaic slang for bowing or curtsying; placing one foot behind the other and bending at the knee "breaks" the line of the leg. In theatre, pleased audiences may applaud for an extended time allowing the cast to take multiple curtain calls, bowing to the audience. 3. In the time of Ancient Greece, people didn't clap. Instead, they stomped for their appreciation and if they stomped long enough, they would break a leg Ghost Light: A ghost light

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