The most commonly held taboo in the arts is uttering the word “Macbeth” inside a theater
Shakespeare’s tragedy was said to be cursed before its first performance more than 500 years ago. Since then, the superstition forbids the show’s title to ever be spoken inside a theater. Instead it’s referred to as “the Scottish play.”
Before taking the stage for opening night of the Broadway revival on Thursday, Craig and Negga were more brazen, preferring not to buy into the superstition that some tragedy will occur if someone utters its name.
“Individually, I don’t know we’re that powerful,” Craig told The Associated Press, adding that he also doesn’t abide by the ways of undoing the curse, like walking in circles outside the theater and waiting to be invited back inside.
“I have my own superstitions about all sorts of things, but not particularly about this,” said Craig, who plays the Scottish anti-hero.
His co-star, who plays Lady Macbeth, was even more brash. “We say it all the time,” Negga said. Like Craig, she admits to being superstitious, just not about saying the name of the play inside the theater.
While Craig and Negga hold a looser attitude when it comes to the curse, Maria Dizzia, who plays one of the witches, wondered if they were truly left unscathed.
“We said ‘Macbeth,’ and then we all got COVID,” Dizzia said.
She added: “The show closed for, you know, 10 days, which we felt was like a kind of curse that was put on the play.”
And director Sam Gold expressed second thoughts.
“I’m not a superstitious person, but this process will teach me to be one the next time. I definitely said the word ‘Macbeth’ a lot and everyone definitely got COVID,” Gold said.
It’s important to note that “Macbeth” was not the only show that had a shutdown due to a recent wave of COVID-19.
“The Music Man” had a string of cancelled performances after a COVID-19 outbreak. Other shows affected in some way, included “A Strange Loop,” “Company” and “Plaza Suite.”