The Scottish play and other superstitions

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No one told me that I wasn’t supposed to say “Macbeth” on stage…

I mean, clearly you don’t change your socks during a hitting streak, you put your pillows on left to right, and you most certainly keep it to yourself when a pitcher has held opponents hitless through 7 innings.

But uttering that word while constructing a Shakespearean stage for the Worcester Shakespeare Company in the lovely former mill-town of Whitinsville, MA? My bad, good people. If the gudgeon gives way or a spindle splinters, it’s on me. Let’s back up a little and see if we can’t wrest some good karma from the humble beginnings of this project’s origins…

Out of his self-drawing web, he gives us note  King Henry VIII: I, i


As with so many good endeavors, it’s helpful to have input and to have plans. Michael and Pret (above) along with internationally renowned timber framer Peter McCurdy and Worcester Shakespeare Company’s Artistic Director Mel Cobb put their heads together and drew up an historically-minded design which Elizabethan actors would have been very familiar with.

Peter, you should know, was the primary builder of the Globe Theatre reconstruction in London. Just a little something for his resume. And Mel, well, Mel was part of the inaugural performance on that very stage, which involved  an actual broken leg and a guy plastering who knew the lines.

When workmen strive to do better than well   King John: IV, ii

The stage began humbly, its framing elements delivered to Michael’s yard.


This is direct evidence of the first performance on this stage!

Joinery fell out…


and pieces started to fall together as they had been drawn up and had once been.


Work continued apace…



and the principal carpenter put on quite a performance:


Click on me for gif magic!

Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly   King Henry VIII: IV, ii

Some good and talented friends came to help out, including teacher Rich F. from The North Bennet Street School in Boston. Rich laid floorboards like a BOSS. He is as talented as he is humble. If you’re ever driving north on route 93 into Boston, you’re probably stuck in traffic. When you get towards the gas tanks in Dot on your right (hey Maaaky Maaak!) have a look over to your left at the church steeple behind the windmill. Rich and his second-year North Bennet students made that.


“Bigger Hammer Hardware Company how may I direct your call?”

Go, go, cheer up thy hungry-starved men  King Henry VI, part I: I, v


There’s more than one merchant in Venice.

More relative than this: the play ‘s the thing   Hamlet: II, ii

Things began to look…staged!


Mel arrived early for the stage’s first rehearsal.


He was followed by Worcester Shakespeare Company actors, who were given a “staged” briefing and some historic context by Michael.


Onto rehearsal. This summer’s play: The Merchant of Venice.


What a great group of kids: One’s in pre-med, several are NY-based actors, another from France.

You do their work, and they shall have good luck:   A Midsummer Night’s Dream: II, i

I may have ill-referenced that bloody Scottish noble while upon the stage, but the white dove who landed above us counts for something other than a Stevie Nicks song, amiright?


Playahs play!


to be continued…

For more information on The Worcester Shakespeare Company’s summer 2013 production of The Merchant of Venice, see their website:

blue acorn

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2 thoughts on “The Scottish play and other superstitions

  1. pfollansbee says:

    white dove will mourn in sorrow, the willows will hang their heads, I live my life in sorrow, since mother and daddy are dead. (The Stanley Brothers – don’t give me that Stevie Nicks crap. what a godawful earworm..) Nice to see the stage project get the treatment. Amazing there was enough space to frame it there.

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