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...