Since we were taking The Fifth Duck to Edinburgh (in Scotland, just in case you didn't know), and given the well-known tradition of actors referring to MacBeth as The Scottish Play on theatre premises, this seemed to be an obvious sketch idea. How much can the more experienced person get away with in persuading the offender to do in order to cancel the bad luck?
A + B ENTER. One of them is carrying a Fringe Programme. They stop CENTRE and briefly improvise a discussion about what they're going to see at the Fringe (without naming any shows except The Fifth Duck). Then:
A Oh, look there. I fancy going to see that!
A [Pointing at something in the Programme] That, there!
B What, MacBeth?
A What'd you say that for?
B Say what?
A The M-word!
B What? You mean "MacBeth"?
A Don't say it!
B Why not?
A It's bad luck to say the name of The Scottish Play!
B Only on theatre premises!
A indicates for B to look around, showing that they are indeed on theatre premises.
B Oh. Right. Oops.
A "Oops" isn't good enough! You have to assuage the curse now!
B Who the what now?
A Placate the malevolent theatre spirits that have had their attention attracted by you mentioning The Scottish Play!
B You mean MacBeth?
A [Starts visibly] Don't say that! It's bad luck!
B Why is it bad luck to say MacBeth in a theatre?
A It's 'cos the first ever performance nearly burned the theatre down, and some of the cast died!
B You're kidding?
A No! Now you've got to perform the ritual to cleanse the curse.
B How do I do that, then?
A Well, first, you've got to turn round three times...
A Yeah, turn round three times. [B does so] Now do a cartwheel.
A Do a cartwheel! [B does so] Now turn around three times again, the other way. [B does so]
A You're not done yet!
A Now jump up and down three times.
A Now crawl off the stage
A Get on your hands and knees and crawl off the stage, then go outside and run round the building three times...
B Oh come on!
A Run round the building three times. Knock three times before coming back in, then come back here and apologise.
B Who came up with this crap?
A It's been developed over 400 years of theatre practice. Just be grateful it's not 2413, you'd have twice as much to do!
B Alright, I'm going.
B gets on his knees and crawls OFF STAGE, then leaves. A EXITS, taking the Fringe Programme with them. PROCEED TO PART 1 OF GUITAR GAFFER. When finished, A comes back on reading the Fringe Programme as B RE-ENTERS.
B [Out of breath] All right. I'm sorry I mentioned The Scottish Play. Satisfied?
A Right. Now stand on your right leg, with your left hand behind your back.
B Oh come on! [He does so] How long for?
A Repeat after me: Crivens! Jings! Oh waily waily!
B Crivens, jings, oh waily waily!
A Angels and ministers of grace defend us
B Angels and ministers of grace defend us
A You can put your leg down now
B You can put your leg down now. Oh! [He puts his leg down] Am I done?
A Now put your hands on your head [waits for B to do so], and blink three times. [B does so] Now bow to the four corners of the room, and apologise to each corner.
B [Bows to a corner] I'm sorry. [REPEAT for each corner] Right. Is that it?
A Yes. Now don't do it again!
B No fear.
© Brian Wakeling