Friday, February 13, 2009
It's a word so fraught with superstition, its very mention can send grown men ducking for cover — and President Obama used it Wednesday night.
President Barack Obama broke a taboo during a visit Wednesday to Ford's Theater in Washington. Honoring Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the 200th anniversary of his birth, Obama remarked on the 16th president's ability to recall passages of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth.' It's considered bad luck to say "Macbeth" in a theater outside a performance.
On a trip to Ford’s Theater, site of President Lincoln's assassination, Obama paid tribute to the 16th president's ability to recall passages of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and "Macbeth."
And with that reference, he unwittingly ventured into what many theater hands believe to be dangerous territory: any mention of the name of the doomed Scottish king in a theater outside of a performance is considered verboten by many actors, who believe it will result in a cursed production — including a greater possibility of injury, bankruptcy, even death.
So does Obama have anything to fear from uttering the unluckiest word in what may be the unluckiest theater in American history?
Theater-goers can relax: Many stage aficionados believe that the prohibition only applies to performers or theater hands, and non-actors have nothing to worry about.
But in the near future, the president might want to stick to movies. Just to be on the safe side.
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