Whatever you do, don’t call it ‘Macbeth’.
Among actors, Macbeth is said to he plagued by a spell which brings bad luck and the 11th commandment among actors is never to mention its name. Coincidentally, the very aspect of the play that proved its popularity is thought to be the origin of a dreadful curse. Rumour has it that Shakespeare used genuine rituals to create the first scene of Act IV, in which the audience observes the weird sisters dancing, chanting and mixing a peculiar concoction in their cauldron. Some people believe that the real witches of Shakespeare’s time were displeased with the theatrical representation of their rituals and, subsequently, placed a curse on the play. Another theory asserts that the notion of bad luck in connection with Macbeth developed in theatre companies, because it would often be nominated as a fallback play. In other words, if injury or illness prevented a company from performing their scheduled play, Macbeth would be performed instead. Largely, this was because Macbeth required a smaller cast and, being a short play, there were fewer lines for the actors to memorise. Additionally, due to its popularity, Macbeth would often be the play performed by struggling theatre companies. Unfortunately, reversing the fortunes of a failing company is a lot to expect from one play, so, inevitably, Macbeth was often the last play performed by many theatre companies. This is also attributed as a root of the belief that Macbeth is a ‘bad luck’ play.