Thursday, October 25, 2007

break a leg



do you know anything about mike skupin?

the picture fits, so i had to throw it in.
here is my blog post from Godspell today:

when I said "break a leg," I didn't mean it...

If you've spent any time at all around the theatre, you've heard the expression "break a leg." An odd phrase, for sure, but what exactly does it mean? According to the Dictionary of Catchphrases, there is a theory that

"Break a leg" originated as a translation of a similar German catchphrase "Hals- und bienbruch," with which German actors wish their colleagues "a broken neck and a broken leg." The German phrase seems to have begun life among aviators, possibly during World War I, and gradually spread to the German theatre and then to the British and American stages.

But why, I hear you ask, would someone wish injury and ill-fortune on a comrade embarking on a perilous mission? Simple -- popular folklore down through the ages is full of warnings against wishing your friends good luck. To do so is to tempt evil spirits or demons to do your friend harm. Better to outwit the demons (who must be rather dim, it seems to me) by wishing your friend bad fortune.

Just this morning, someone wished me "good luck" with the show. He caught himself, and uttered a very quick "break a leg," and we both chuckled. However, I had already had that gut-wrenching thought, "oh, no, he didn't just say that!" Theatre superstitions are not lost on me!


Fast forward to this afternoon. I've just gotten off the phone with one of my cast members. She has, you guessed it, broken a leg. (Fractured an ankle, really, but I have to make sure the irony of the situation really sinks in here.) A broken ankle. A week away from opening night. An aspirin for the director, please...

It will be a challenge, for sure. This cast will rally around. We will tweak blocking, modify some choreography, alter a few costume pieces to accommodate her cast... We will hope that this is the biggest challenge we face during the coming week.

Now, get out there and buy your tickets!! And be sure to send us your "best wishes." We don't need any more "luck" right now...

10 comments:

Amanda :-) said...

Noooooo! That's a nightmare! I hope it all comes together okay. She must feel terrible about it, aside from the discomfort of her ankle. Blimey, what a thing to happen.

You must also NEVER mention 'the Scottish play'. Oooooowwwooooo!

lelly said...

and if you do mention it, it better be followed quickly with "Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!"

Marie said...

I loved the history of the 'break a leg' phrase. I didn't know that.

Cynthia said...

I always wondered where that came from, NOW I know. Thank heavens for alterations and quick thinking. Heres to you - Many prayers your way AND a Broken leg!

Amy said...

Best best wishes. That is hilarious! Irony at its best.

Kelly A. said...

That really bites. The life of a director! Good luck, nightmare indeed!

Cristin said...

oh my...

Best wishes!!! It all sounds very exciting in a nightmarish sort of way! When it all comes together you must issue a big sigh of relief! :)

Barb said...

How about 'break a box office record'? I hope people take the chance to come and enjoy your show!

Rachel said...

So sorry about your cast member! What a great little tid bit on the old saying, "break a leg". I am now smarter for have visited your blog today. Thank you.

Oh and best wishes!

Sandi said...

When do you open, wish I could be there. Give hugs where appropriate.