Friday, April 27

Break a Leg! And other Italian superstitions & wellwishes

The English Theater of Rome's troupe of new actors performing their own original pieces  (which makes us all new writers to boot!) in our show of monologues, Equal & Opposite Effects brought the house down the other night.  It was a marvelous mix of young & old talent, with a full house at Rome's Teatro Arciliuto (practically an institution in Rome that should never go unmissed for an traveler for the nightly Cabaret).  
Italian wellwishers gave each of us their version of Break a Leg!  I don't know where that expression comes from, but in Italy, they wish you piles of shit:  Merda! 
I chalked it up to the usual litany of lovely idioms of the Italian lexicon:  If you get shat on by a pigeon, they say it brings good luck.  If it rains on your wedding day, they say it brings good luck.  Step in dog shit?  More good luck.  [If that last one were true, I'd have won the lottery by now].  But shit?  
This comes from the time when theater goers turned up in horse & buggy.  The more people, the more carriages = more shit.  This expression could very well be one of my favorite uses on earth for the word...

*For those in Rome, we still have three more performances, so get your tickets while they last!  For information: Click Here (or see sidebar) 

1 comment:

Dave514 said...

I can help you out on this one, "Break a leg" comes from an old German Hunting expression, when hunting was done on horseback. The full expression went something like this, I hope you don't break your neck or your leg." In German it was shortened to, "Hals und beinbruch," literally meaning "neck and leg break." In English is was translated and shortened even further to, "Break a leg." How it came to be used the theartre I have no idea.