Macbeth Takes Over Lowden
November 10, 2016
“Double, double, toil and trouble” will be brought to LVA’s Lowden stage this November. Whether you believe in the superstitions or not, “The Scottish Play” has several myths that surround its name. The decision of Macbeth being a part of the 2016-2017 season created several concerns for students within the theatre department. John Morris, the director, that has taken on the challenge of the well known Shakespearean classic.
Most actors are familiar with the bad luck that comes with saying the word “Macbeth” within any theater. The Curse of Macbeth said, “The superstition is not so much about doing the play as about naming it. You are not supposed to mention the title in a theatre.” If the name of the play is spoken, History.com advises that you, “Exit the theatre, spin around three times, spit over your left shoulder and either recite a line from Shakespeare or unleash a profanity.”
Several people have been injured or killed during the productions of Macbeth. During the premier of Macbeth on Aug. 7, 1606, the boy actor who played Lady Macbeth died backstage, requiring Shakespeare to perform in his place. Many incidents tend to occur during the several scenes that require weaponry. In a 17th-century production done in Amsterdam, the actor playing King Duncan was apparently killed in front of a live audience when a real dagger was used in place of the prop during the stabbing scene. Outside of the show, several riots have arisen, also leaving several injured and killed. In 1849, there was a rivalry between the fans of British actor William Charles Macready and American actor Edwin Forrest. This conflict turned violent during a production at New York’s Astor Place Opera House, leaving 22 dead and more than 100 injured. These are only a few of the unfortunate instances that have surrounded productions of Macbeth.
Some believe the curse came to be because Shakespeare used legitimate spells in his writings. Steppenwolf.org said, “‘The Scottish Play’ was believed to flirt dangerously with the ‘Powers of Evil,’ bringing catastrophe down upon productions over the succeeding centuries.” Others feel the issues have naturally occurred due to the play being performed for 400 years.
Students within the theatre department have equally complex concepts. Tech major, Jordyn Ross, 11, said, “I think the superstition, like all superstitions, is all depending on how much negative or positive energy you put into it. I think if we allow the superstition to overwhelm us, something bad very well could happen. As long as we focus on our art and what we love and upkeep positive energy we’ll be just fine.”
LVA’s theatre department is known for performing shows on a highly professional level, so no less should be expected from its portrayal of Macbeth. Students like theatre major, David Wade, 12, said, “I have had a year of training with the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company and have read the complete works of Shakespeare.” David is not the only student at LVA who is versed in the Shakespearean language, so William will not be rolling in his grave. Only time will tell if the curse will take over the Lowden Theater.