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Posted by: Weekly Dive   |   7/6/2016   |   Shakespeare's Macbeth + Typewriters

Warning sign at Barrymore Theatre - The M Word

I write about Shakespeare and I collect typewriters. For my Weekly Dive, I combined these beloved relics to stomp all over one of the oldest theatre taboos: quoting Shakespeare’s “cursed” tragedy, Macbeth. Read on—if you dare—for six of my favorite lines.

For the extra paranoid, this Dive concludes with three traditional “cleansing” quotes to bless yourself back into good luck.

Good to know: all quotes from Macbeth derive from Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 2 July 2016.

Also good to know: I don’t research typewriter history with the rigor of a dissertation (or at all). I just like the way they look. A few links are included with the images, but I’d love to hear from any typewriter history buffs.

… wait did she say “cursed”? Yep:

“Among actors, The Tragedy of Macbeth has always been one of the most fearsome of Shakespeare’s dramas – not necessarily because of its difficulty or complexity, but rather because of a long, superstitious history of ill fate surrounding the play. Macbeth is, according to thespian Richard Huggett, ‘the unlucky play of the theatre [which] for four hundred years has carried in its wake a truly terrifying trial of disaster and bad luck.’ Unless rehearsal is under way, actors rarely quote this ‘cursed’ play inside a theater and refer to its title only through evasive circumlocutions:That Play, The Scottish Play, or The Unmentionable. Props and set pieces from Macbeth are also considered tainted or dangerous and often kept separate from the rest of a company’s production goods. In the early modern period especially, even poor, traveling playing companies refused to substitute or exchange Macbeth’s costumes and props into other performances for fear of exacerbating the play’s notorious curse and bringing it upon the rest of their repertory.” Allison P. Hobgood, Passionate Playgoing in Early Modern England. Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 34.

 

Photo of Barrymore Theatre entrance door for their 2013 revival of Macbeth, refashioned as a one-man show starring Alan Cumming.


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