​A meager helping of Theatre Facts

​A meager helping of Theatre Facts

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  1. The stage is a place both known and unknown to many. Some spend their lives on it, some never go near, and others never miss a chance to see it. No matter what your relationship with theatre is, there may be some things you never really understood, and some questions you’ve never had answered.

    Why are actors called Thespians?

    Thespis of Icaria, is widely considered to be the first actor. During his time, there were no plays, just the epics and tales written about gods and heroes of which we are all at least vaguely familiar. Others who came before Thespis, would recite these epics, but Thespis went a bit farther than that. He performed them. With different masks, he would become the characters in the epics. It was by portraying these different characters, that Thespis earned the title of the first actor. For more information on Thespis of Icaria.

    Why is it bad luck to say good luck?

    No one knows.

    Why is stage left on the right and vice versa?

    It isn’t if you’re the performer.

    Why is it bad luck to whistle in the theatre?

    The techs who work backstage used to be sailors, and since they couldn’t communicate via headset, they would whistle. Whistles could be the cues to fly something in or off stage, and the wrong whistle at the wrong time could drop something on your head. The superstition is really just a piece of advice that has lived too long.

    Why can’t I say MacBeth?

    It is believed that when Shakespeare wrote the play, he used actual spells for the witches. So speaking the name…wakes dark spirits, or maybe casts the spells? I don’t know. That’s the origin of the superstition, though.


    If you have any questions, feel free to ask me via comments or a message. I would be happy to answer it for you.

    A quick note regarding luck: While the origin of good luck being bad luck is unknown, there are a handful of theories. They involve kneeling for the queen, resting in the wings, and none of them seem correct to me, so I just left it unanswered until a better theory reveals itself.

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