The Curse

So, as you may know, there is a supposed curse that hangs over every production of Macbeth, apocryphally dating back to one of the first performances of the play in Shakespeare’s time. There are many stories through the ages of actors playing the Scot becoming ill, of problems plaguing the production, of technical elements going awry. The curse is so well known that superstition has forbidden anyone to speak the name of the play or quote from it out of context while in the confines of the theater or rehearsal space. If such a thing should happen, there is a complex and silly remedy which involves the perpetrator leaving the room and performing a ritual.

Well, Milwaukee Shakespeare’s last production was, in fact, Macbeth. And to my knowledge, very little ill befell the cast and crew of the production. Pretty curse-free, one might say.* But that production rehearsed in the same space in which we are currently rehearsing 1 Henry 4. That fact was never so clear as today when I walked in to the space to see a hospital bracelet tacked to the call board. The hospital bracelet for one Brian Gill, Hotspur, whose hand was mauled by a dog Monday night, requiring six stitches. While looking at the bracelet, before hearing the story, I caught Tiersa Ferraro, our Mistress Quickly, in the corner of my eye, hobbling into the space. She had a full leg brace on, having torn some ligament or other in her knee. On Monday. This comes hard on the heels of Paul Dennhardt’s first brush with back trouble on Saturday, and another cast member having to drop out of the show due to breaking his foot a couple of weeks ago.** These are all things that have happened while working on the show. Or rather, while in the employ of the show. So far [Knocks wood], only Mr. Dennhardt’s back spasm occurred while actually at rehearsal. As Paula Suozzi suggested, “No one is allowed to leave the building. Nothing happens to you while you’re here.”

So, I haven’t heard of the curse extending beyond a specific production, and it’s certainly possible that someone fouled things up by speaking the name or quoting out of context; for all I know, having that old playbill in the green room for so long was partly responsible. Whatever the reason, the bad juju is here. Can someone please go outside, turn around in a circle three times, and spit?



*There was something about a shelf full of empty coffee mugs spontaneously crashing to the floor of the green room, but in the scheme of things, eh.

** Another cast member had some other issues which we won’t get into, but suffice it to say, they were minor, and varied, and a little gross.


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