This weeks Tuesday Twitter Trivia question takes me back to college. I learned alot back then, some to do with other things then theatre, but mainly theatre and lighting. I have always been fascinated by some of the superstitions that we theatre folk come to live by such as this weeks question:
Why are we not allowed to whistle while on stage?
Seems like a weird one right? We learn at a very early age that if you whistle while you work, time will just fly by. So why can’t we whistle while say hanging lights or working on the set on a stage? It all has to do with the sailor. I am going to let Wikipedia answer this one for me.
…Whistling has long been used as a specialized communication between laborers. For example, whistling in theatre, particularly on-stage, is used by flymen to cue the lowering or raising of a batten pipe or flat. This method of communication became popular before the invention of electronic means of communication, and is still in use, primarily in older “hemp” houses during the set and strike of a show. Traditionally, sailors were often used as stage technicians, working with the complicated rope systems associated with flying. Coded whistles would be used to call cues, so it is thought that whistling on-stage may cause, for example, a cue to come early, a “sailor’s ghost” to drop a set-piece on top of an actor, or general bad luck in the performance.