I don’t want to make too big a deal about this, but I find it rather perplexing that anyone should still seriously give weight to the prohibition against saying Macbeth in a theater.
Surely we’re all rational and reasonable enough to understand there’s no actual curse… that there’s no cause-and-effect relationship between uttering those syllables and an ill fate befalling a production.
Some have suggested that it’s simply a harmless tradition: fun, in a way, and nothing more than that. Perhaps, and if so… fine, I guess.
To me, however, it seems rather silly. After all, theater has genuine transformationalÂ psychological power for practitioners and audiences alike… and to reduce that power to a simple curse seems to diminish itÂ unnecessarily.
The promulgating of a curse, furthermore, puts us at risk of alienating scientifically- and rationally-minded audiences, too, who would be justified in taking us less seriously if we went on about it too much.
Now… I have no interest in insulting anyone, so I don’t go around saying Macbeth just to piss people off… but I just don’t have the mental filter that would keep me from saying Macbeth if the play came up naturally in conversation. The word would come rolling out of my mouth long before I ever thought it might be bothersome.
So if I say Macbeth in your presence, and we’re standing in a theater… forgive me. I’m not going to turn around three times reciting a curse word, leave, and ask permission to come back, but I also don’t mean to raise your hackles. I just can’t really understand why they get raised in the first place, and it never occurs to me that they do.