Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

Thought for the Day • THEATRENOW.COM TAKES THE PISS • 2003

logoroguesA patronising, piss-taking generalization pops up in today’s theatrenow newsletter. We expect it in most publications, obsessed as they are with the idea that all performers are egotistical ‘luvvies’. Coming from a web site specifically geared to celebrating and promoting theatre, we find this particularly crass. One day soon, even the most desperate for publicity will avoid giving interviews to these publications.

‘In case you didn’t know,’ runs the newsletter, ‘actors are a funny bunch with more than their fair share of superstitions’.

Perhaps the acting profession does have more than its fair share but so what!

The newsletter continues: ‘An inherent need for attention coupled with a rampant ego is cearly [sic] fertile ground for all sorts of nonsensical beliefs’.

Here we go — every single actor is a raving egomaniac blah blah blah. Some are, some aren’t, just as are some journalists and some members of the human race. And, in any case, not all actors take note of these superstitions. Of those that do, many are merely maintaining a theatrical tradition, rather than being superstitious. Do journalists have no superstitions or traditions that might appear ludicrous to others?

The newsletter goes on to talk about Macbeth: ‘I hope you didn’t read that aloud or all manner of misfortune is bound to come your way. Yeah, right’.

Actually, no — you’d have to be working in a theatre for that superstition to apply.

There’s more: ‘Next time some theatrical type lets slip the name of the ‘Scottish play’, remind them the only way to beat the curse, according to Cassell’s Companion To Theatre, is to “immediately leave the room, turn around three times, break wind or spit, knock on the door and ask permission to re-enter”. Refuse to grant it.’

Isn’t that pleasant? Now, how can we take the piss out of this type of journalist?

And talking of The Scottish Play, ‘why is Macbeth considered an ‘unlucky’ play?’ asks Peter Mottley elsewhere on our site. ‘Forget all the fables and so-called legends of people dying on stage, or scenery collapsing, or performances being cancelled. The reality is far more mundane. The play has always been a sure-fire crowd-puller. Deservedly so: it’s a great play. Unfortunately, the 18th Century had virtually no great plays of its own (The Beaux Stratagem (1707), The Beggar’s Opera (1728), then nothing until Sheridan and Goldsmith in the late 1770s). Consequently, theatre producers took a chance on all sorts of second-rate plays — and frequently bombed out. If they had too many turkeys in a row, they would frequently try to cut their losses by putting on a production of Macbeth. Gradually, the word went round: if you’re putting on Macbeth, you must be in trouble. Hence the play’s association with failure — and bad luck.’

Sarah Vernon © 2003
NB To be perfectly frank, I’m not sure if this was written by me or not! It sounds like me and I do get on my high horse when someone takes the piss out of my profession, but I can’t be sure. I published no byline on the original. Incidentally, the only TheatreNow that seems to exist these days is about theatre in Sydney.

Originally posted on R&V 26-06-03


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Life with an Illness

*Tips and tricks on how to get through life when you have a chronic illness*

The poor side of life


For the Love of Art

Create, Explore, and Discover, Every Day.

Politics and Insights

Public interest issues, policy, equality, human rights, social science


Supporting the rich amateur theatre scene on the Isle of Wight

Robin Hoskyns Nature Photography - Blog

Images and stories of nature, science and conservation.

Sarah Ditum

Writing, etc.

The Müscleheaded Blog

"Nothing Exceeds Like Superfluous Jejunity "

Jots from a Small Apt.

Largely @ Liberty

Rethinking Life

Art and the philosophy of life

Croatia, the War, and the Future

Ina Vukic - Croatia: people, politics, history, economy, transition from communism to democracy

lynz real cooking

lynz real life

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics

Tropical Affair

Observations of the illusion through the eyes of wonder...

The home of writer Barney Hoskyns' books, poems, photos and more.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Left Handed Lottie

Drawing and painting on an ipad

Atelier 88

More than just rooms

The Sleeping Hare

Art by Lottie Nevin

Pacific Paratrooper

This site is Pacific War era information


The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Vegan Books For Children

books from Little Chicken, Honestly Books and Violet's Vegan Comics

Catherine Meyrick

Historical Fiction with a touch of Romance

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

My Life as an Artist (2)

Smile! You’re at the best site ever

Violet's Vegan Comics

Virtual Vegan Comics for Children

Two Rooms Plus Utilities

Written from the heart, this is the unadulterated truth of live with multiple chronic illnesses and being housebound. My life open for you to follow. Please join me


How current policy is little more than kicking the cat....

Matt's History Blog

Hopefully interesting snippets and thoughts

David Hencke

Westminster and Whitehall news investigations

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.


August is archive month. Posts from the past

P.A. Moed

Creative Exploration in Words and Pictures


collage/mixed media artist

My Dad Is A Goldfish

Caring for a demented dad

Scope's Blog

Scope exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Until then, we'll be here.

Art Farm of a Country Woman

Painting My World with My Heart


Literature, books , sport and whatever intrigues me

AT A GENTLE PACE - Bridget Whelan's lifestyle travel blog

for people who would try anything except whitewater rafting (probably)


My personal opinions about.......stuff (as if you care!)

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

The Theatre Guild Newsletter

Celebrating 98 years on Broadway!

Pen and Pension

Immerse yourself in Georgian and Regency England

%d bloggers like this: