Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Blessing of the Theater Gods

In Far East countries they honor an old tradition at the theaters. Before every opening all people involved in the new production - actors, dancers, the leading team, stage hands and producers - gather to attend the so-called "ceremony". A make-shift altar is erected on the stage and, led by Buddhist or Hindu priests, everybody prays to the Gods to bless the show. I always found this a wonderful idea. You can hardly think of a better way to calm every one down before the rise of the curtain. Why be nervous when you can be sure that the Gods are with you? In Japan that ceremony is very serious and conservative. Everybody puts a green twig with a written note on the altar. In Korea they are less formal. There you have to give an offering to the Gods by putting a bill in the mouth of a pig's head. The goods Gods pass it on to the stage hands who make good use of it by buying drinks for the after opening party.


  1. This sounds strange in the ears of an atheist. I can understand the positive effect basing on an old tradition, but I could envision the same result when one of the real gods appears and delivers a very personal address. Isn’t this one of the reasons for your trips to far away opening nights, Michael?

  2. Don't forget that all theater folks are superstitious. So you're absolutely right. This is the only reason I make these long trips.