Almost a year and a half ago I was sweating myself to death in London, just two months in to the epic Project Wanderlust. Kendra, Mal, and I were living in a fairly small one-room studio for the month, and we were about to be joined by our friend Kylie who would be staying for a fortnight (I know, what were we thinking? Things got . . . cozy. Not like that, pervs).
Well, randomly one day I got a message from an old friend of mine from my Door Steward days in Glasgow, Alex. “Door Steward” is polite-speak for “bouncer.” We were the guys who tossed the drunks out and stopped the already-drunk from getting in. Both Alex and I are either American or American-sounding (he’s half-German), and while I’m as broad as a barn he’s both got the shoulders AND the height . . . he’s 6’7″ if he’s an inch. He was born to do the job.
Anyway, turns out Alex was getting married to a lovely girl named Kelly and since I was on the island, did I want to swing by and celebrate with him? Hell yeah I did!
So I hopped on a train and went up to a place called Saltburn-by-the-Sea.
When I got there, I was welcomed like family and it was an amazing time, but this post isn’t really about the wedding. Which was lovely. Of course.
It’s about Macbeth.
You see, at the wedding Alex re-introduced me to a gentleman who I knew in Glasgow but who I didn’t really remember well. You see, when Alex and I saw each other outside of work, we were usually at parties. So I was usually drunk. And when I drank in those days, I DRANK. So any of Alex’s friends are really just vaguely human-shaped blurs.
Anyway, this gentleman (who, as you can guess, is still just a human-shaped blur) is now an actor in London and we spoke about a variety of things . . . or maybe I spoke to a particularly well dressed and spoken pole all night. Either is frankly possible. But in any case, he told me “the truth” about the superstition of not saying the name “Macbeth” inside of a theatre.
Of course there are several “truths” just like with any superstition. But I really like this one.
His truth is:
Macbeth is an incredibly profitable play. It has everything. Kings. Witches. Murder. Betrayal. Insanity. More murder. It has entertained audiences for centuries and it has consistently packed them in the aisles right up until modern day.
It has consistently been SO popular, that theatre companies which are struggling financially will mount performances of Macbeth in order to try and pull themselves away from the brink of bankruptcy.
So when actors say “Shhhhh! Don’t say the name Macbeth!”, it’s not because they are afraid of supernatural consequences . . . it’s because they’re really saying “Noooo! Things couldn’t possibly be that bad, could they?!”
For all of my love of supernatural stories, for some reason I like this story the best. 🙂