“The Curse of the Play”

Faires, Robert

Publication date:




In conjunction with an upcoming production of “Macbeth,” this newspaper article describes the superstition against saying “Macbeth” in a theater. The article investigates the story that the play “Macbeth” is cursed by describing examples of several times when the fabled “Curse of Macbeth” is said to have struck productions of the play. Faires tells accounts of many calamities and catastrophes surrounding the play, starting with the death of one of its lead actors before its first opening performance. The article also lists the alternative nicknames that actors and directors call “Macbeth” in order to protect themselves from the supposed curse.


“The Curse of the Play” has a readability score of 60, which places its grade level at 9.9. The text follow the conventions of a journalistic think-piece. It maintains consistency and coherence and uses modern diction and vocabulary. It includes some more difficult vocabulary like “lore,” ingratiate,” incantations,” and “calamitous.” “The Curse of the Play” also includes some unfamiliar names and place-names readers might find hard to pronounce. The reading level is above what I would expect students to grasp independently if I wanted to include the whole class in participation with the text.

Use in Class

As a nonfiction journalistic text, I intend to use this piece to give some variety to genres included in the unit. Because it slants at the high end of the ninth grade reading level, I would use “The Curse of the Play” as a read-aloud to generate engagement with “Macbeth.” Using this text, I would lead a discussion on superstitions in drama. We could talk about other theater superstitions students are aware of and about whether any one has heard of the “Curse of Macbeth” or believes that the curse is real.

Unit Focus

Language Arts

Submitted by Julia Katz

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