Spiritual Symbol Protects Lincoln Center Theaterís Macbeth From Legendary Curse

By Robert Viagas
01 Jan 2014

"The designer was known to communicate with angels and he created an image that has blessed the show and has given us the protection of the angels," Babb and Fieger wrote. "So now we never have to worry about the so-called Macbeth Curse! We can say the title all the time backstage and we don’t ever encounter any of those things people say."

They quoted director Jack O'Brien as telling the cast, "I don't believe in those things, but I don't not believe in those things."

Phillips said this is first production of Macbeth he has stage managed, but he had heard of the curse. He said the production, which stars Ethan Hawke and Anne-Marie Duff, has not been entirely without oddball incidents. During rehearsal at Lincoln Center in October, one of four dimmers on a light board began to dim a quarter of the rehearsal hall even though no one was near the controls.

"It was spooky and odd," Phillips said, "but it was a one-time thing. I'm sure it was just a power surge or something."

Also, during the run of the play, a banner that is held up by Velcro so it can be ripped down by actors detached itself in the middle of a scene and wafted down to the stage during the murder of Duncan. "There was no reason it should have done that, that we can ascertain," Phillips said.

Echoing director O'Brien, Phillips said, "I'm not a big superstitious person, but on the other hand there are so many traditions in the theatre, like not whistling in the dressing rooms, that we try to observe them. There's no point in tempting the Fates. I feel that this production has been a blessing. And if the mandala helps that, fantastic."

Despite the play's legends, it remains one of the most-produced Shakespeare works, having been performed on Broadway alone 18 times since the late 1920s.

There is still time for the curse to work its evil. The production is scheduled to run through January 12, 2014.